January 29, 2011

Snow, Snow And More Snow!

Yeah... I have a thing right now for Kona.

January 27, 2011

I Am Enough

I thought I might share this special link from Leah at The Free Motion Project.

"...in every person, there is overwhelming perfection just waiting to been seen and acknowledged."

Wow.

More sharing here.

January 26, 2011

Pillow Party!

I sometimes I have a love/hate relationship, mostly love, with blogging sometimes. Seriously... the distractions are endless. Usually I end up reading some new blog and still having to look up whatever it was I originally went looking for online.  At the same time I would never complete some WIPs without the amazing people online to motivate a finish!  So here is my entry, very late, to this months Blogger's Pillow Party at Rachel's Stitched in Color.

Blogger's Pillow Party

The pillow started as an experiment with wonkiness.


I seem to enjoy precision and wanted to let go a bit.  I thought the star block would look great as a pillow and took the opportunity to practice hand quilting with perle cotton. I used a blue pen and marked the quilting at half inch intervals. That took a bit longer. I don't prewash fabrics and now it has a happy crinkle. It measures 20 inches.


A lot of stitchy presents in December provided plenty of distraction. So last weekend I added the binding and finished the back. If I get tired of it as a pillow I'll put it up as a wall hanging.  It's actually my first attempt at a pillow and I'll be making more soon. What do you think?

January 24, 2011

Single Girl Quilt Along

Katye at  i'm a ginger monkey is organizing a quilt along. It's either now or never! I'm in.

Single Girl Quilt Along


What Denyse doesn't tell you is that you need to be a single girl to find time to actually do this. Or do you??

January 23, 2011

Cathedral Window Tutorial Part 1

Cathedral Windows


To make the background for my cathedral window quilt, I machine sew each one of the units. I am terrible at folding, allergic to irons, and despise pins. In this method of Cathedral Window Quilt making, I try to avoid them all.

I start by prewashing my Kona cotton. I have made a wall hanging before and I didn't want to deal with uneven stretching and shrinking- not that I have had a problem with Kona! I like to play it safe. You can start with a 10.5 inch square. I did this to minimize the fabric waste of my Kona cotton. Four of these squares uses all the fabric up to the selvage edge. You can start with whatever fabric square size you want.

Starting Fabric Square ----Resulting Unit Made (inches)

10.5-----5

9.5------4.5

8.5------4

7.5------3.5

6.5------3

I prefer the bigger since I can finish quicker. I am making an 80 by 80 inch quilt for our full bed and that will take 256 units, 16 by 16 units. I believe with the overlapping units, 225, it will take 481 window of fabric. (?) I am looking at my fabric in different piles of production and don't know how much Kona Snow I bought. (I think it may be anywhere from 12 to 15 yards.) [Oops By working backwards, it was 12 yards and, unless I buy more background fabric, my quilt will be at most 65 inches square.] The good part is I can always increase the size to whatever I want by adding more blocks at anytime. You can easily make a twenty inch pillow with 16 of these. You will need about 1 and 1/4 yards of solid and some favorite fabric scraps. No batting is used in this type of quilt.

Cut out 10.5 inch squares. Precision is important, as inaccuracies will increase and snowball at each step.


Fold in half, sew with a 1/4 inch seam from the cut edge to the folded edge. Backstitch at least three stitches at the folded edge.


Chain-stitch these to save thread, cut apart, and repeat with the other side.


Now open seams on either side and pin matching the seams together.


Sew a quarter inch seam along this unfinished edge and leave an opening. Backstitch at the beginning, end and at the opening. This opening will never be closed so I backstitch it too and it doesn't unravel when turning it inside out.


With a pile of these made, prepare them to be turned inside out. Trim each corner of your new square, without cutting your stitches, to about a 45 degree angle. I sometime take more like I did here and it doesn't seem to matter that much.


Turn inside out, using a tool to turn the corners out neatly with nice points. I use the Little Turning Tool. The backstitching will help you not poke a hole in the corner. Finger press all the seams open. (Work the seams with your fingers and crease the edges.) Kona is wonderful since it holds this temporary pressing. This is the most time consuming part of the process, but it is a mindless activity that I do watching my favorite whatever on the TV.

Take the pile and press them flat. I use a lot of steam. The sides are bias edges so you have to be careful to not distort them.


Now fold these corners to the center and press them down. Use steam with the pressing if you would like.


I measure the finished unit to make sure it measures 5 inches square and has good right angles like this:


You're done with one unit! Make sure these finish as squares. When you sew them together you won't have those pesky holes at the corners.


Now we need to sew the units together and add fabric. This is where most recent tutorials become the same. for machine sewing or by hand. I'll show you my no pin method in Part 2! Let me know if you have any questions so far.

Part 2 can be found here!

January 22, 2011

Last Night

What is it about a new rotary cutter blade that make me want to cut fabric? The last one was so dull, and I was in complete denial on having to put in a new blade. However, I did manage to run over the Omnigrid ruler and conveniently dull it. I realized my 12.5 inch square one has an entire corner nicked off. Was it a long ago, late night, coffee induced haze? Anyway, I am really good at breaking in those new blades. So blah, blah, blah... Did I do anything last night?

I did the first 4 so you'll have to excuse me on the last one for another day or two.

1. Nine 5 inch crazy quilt blocks.


These Henna Garden blocks will be a pillow like this. I thought I was original and figured out how to cut it up myself, but found out Oh Fransson has a great tutorial on it for a quilt sized version.

2. Put binding on Star pillow for the Bloggers Pillow Party. I'll show more of it for that post.


3. Sew strips for postage stamp quilt
4. Cut out more hexagons for AMH quilt


Yes, yes and cut out lots of Meadowsweet for the CW quilt. I am adding bit of Farmer's Market in there too. Is it wrong? It just makes me so happy all mixed up together.

5. Cathedral Window Tutorial edits


A very good night even if I did manage to break a needle too.

January 21, 2011

FNSI

I have tons on my to-do list tonight and I will get it done!
I also am excited to throw a few of these together each month.

American Jane Hexagons


Is it acceptable for the stitches to show? How many stitches on the edge of a 1 inch hexagon is good enough? I usually go a bit overboard. I have never seen one of these in person so I am winging it.

Goals for tonight's FNSI.
1. 9 5 inch Crazy quilt blocks (I am using a what I call a quick chop method.)
2. Put binding on Star pillow for the Bloggers Pillow Party
3. Sew strips for postage stamp quilt
4. Cut out more hexagons for AMH quilt
5. Cathedral Window Tutorial edits

I'm going to see Saturday in the first few hours for sure, but January has been a black hole of half finished projects of some irritation. I have been tired and colds have filled the month. I finally figured out the new variable I ignored. The new big girl bed adjustment for Zoe. Keeping her in bed, with having the kids dutifully yell down the stairs she has not, is getting annoying. It has been better lately, but I am still feeling lack of motivation to do anything. So I will just do something and hope to be inspired. Then there is the question of a long promised project that I will get done this weekend no matter what.

For the rest of the month I hope for Zoe to learn how to count sheep, for all to have sweet sleep and health in the days ahead, a sewing machine that hums along, beautiful fabric, miles of thread, and no broken needles.

January 19, 2011

Henna Garden Goodness

I just got these in the mail today.


Why does the event need to be blogged? I ordered the Meadowsweet and Kona white yardage on January 2 and I decided that on a 8 week fabric diet after that. They were in the mail within the week and proceeded to  float around ice storm and blizzard la la land. I was a bit frustrated that the white did not come for my postage stamp quilt. (I am using Christmas fabrics and 1 inch white squares.) Now I was off to cut them to pieces today when I started to wonder... I have a tendency to throw in screaming sale fabric into my cart when I buy online.

Henna Garden

I think I blame my subconscious fabric choice on beauties like KT's. The brown is hiding somewhere in the rest of my Meadowsweet. Well... Six of these are going to be chopped up into little squares for the cathedral window quilt. I feel better than they will be used soon!  I'll show how to make your units by the end of the week.

January 18, 2011

Cathedral Window Quilt Block

I have finished another seven windows and I am woefully behind on my goal. I am going to double up for the next few days and I need to remind myself that having a cold does not help the creativity bug. I need to plan ahead for circumstances like that.

Cathedral Windows


The red threads are temporary threads to hold the edges down. The threads will be cut away and the edges will be opened to machine sew them to another block. I will resew them down more permanently later. My units are five inches and my window uses a 3 and 1/8 inch square of fabric.

I am planning to make a tutorial of my method. Anybody still interested? I also don't want to reinvent the wheel, but I don't see a detailed tutorial using my exact method. The prerequisites are hand applique skills and, for a decent size quilt, patience and time. Lots of those last two. A window takes a half hour.  This, in mommy translation, is one pbs show!

On reflecting on the past year, blogging and sewing, I may be able to select my style. If I had to name it it would be Modern Tradition: modern designer fabrics, but with traditional methods and blocks? I dunno, but I don't seem to be doing any free piecing. Sometimes the design has a twist. I just pulled out my red and aqua Dresden plate and I am playing with adding hexagons in the border!

I saw Quiltstory's block party


and thought of entering my cathedral window block. I am going to sew it to the last one and finish the remaining windows as a twenty by fifteen inch block. There are three categories: Modern, Traditional, and Creative. Any ideas what category this block, should go? Traditional? Should I try this?

January 13, 2011

Fairy Godmother Plea

If there is a fairy godmother out there I would like one of these, please. Queen sized for your princess! ;)

Denyse Schmidt- Single Girl Quilt

It is on sale at Pottery Barn right now! I thought it was out of production! I think I will make one of these one day. I feel better that it still looks fantastic, even without the infamous hard to find green fabrics. Maybe a February start??

January 12, 2011

Couldn't Resist (heavy on the pictures)

I thought the grandparents would like to know how their sugar cookie recipe went over this vacation.














However, the right amount of sugar is serious business.


(Nana-We'll miss you this weekend. Enjoy the snow for us. Hugs and Kisses!)

January 11, 2011

The Tangled Birthday Cake

I bought the cake from the store plain and added the "Tangled" theme.


I used the smallest cake pan I could find at the store. This is usually the third tier if I make a three tiered cake. I have three of those so I baked them in batches, trying not to overfill the pans. I cut the tops off to level them and layered them with some buttercream icing between the layers and over the cake like a normal cake is made. The recipe is here.

Not having any cake dowels, which are necessary for support, I used three candy canes through the 5 layers. It was 8 at night and the store that has these is 20 minutes away!! Nobody eats this decorated part at the party so I didn't feel guilty! You can get cake dowels at your local store no problem.

The roof was made of the same small cake layer and a cupcake that I shaved a bit to make pointy. I also layered and covered this part with icing.

After all this is done I finally get to play with fondant. I kind of think of it as edible Play-Doh. You can shape it into whatever you want- it has the same properties and consistences. It hardens when you cool it in the refrigerator. I use a standard bunch of cookie cutters that I bought from the craft store.  I usually use this recipe at Peggy's baking corner. It tastes a whole lot better than the commercial kind. This time I decided to try Wilton's and I have decided to go back to the Marshmallow fondant. It is easier to work with. I can adjust the water content to the desert's unique humidity content which is always dry.

The colors are made from basic food coloring or cocoa for the brown. (I am still experimenting with this since the cocoa powder dries the fondant and makes it harder to work with. You see the confectioner sugar and icing all over the front door. I think I need to play more with gel food coloring.)


The cone of the roof was made with three quarters of a circle of fondant. The rectangle for the base was not big enough, but I made it work. The biggest lesson I have learn, while baking a cake, is how to cover up a mistake. Instead of panicking, I made this the front, added the door, a whole bunch of vines and flowers, and hair.


The seam on the roof had vines and flowers made from the fondant as well. Don't like the way the vines look? I covered the messiness with leaves and flowers. I always mess up those thin icing lines. Everything was attached to the gray tower with green buttercream icing. I used cookie cutters to cut out the green grass, but added bushes of green buttercream, to cover the terrible looking seams at the bottom.


I just had to add those cute mushrooms. They taste good too!


After being out for a while the cake did lean a bit. Oh well. It's isn't perfect. Flowers and extra green icing also comes in handy covering up the messy handwriting. You can tell I got the hang of the gel icing pen when I got to Anna's name!


As children came in the door, we did craft activity of pink and purple crowns that the children decorated themselves with foamies and crayon. The biggest advice I have for a children's birthday party is keep them busy!


They wrote their name on the paper hair for the game Pin The Hair On The Princess. I used the hair and princess from a coloring page I found online.


One of the best compliments I received was a mom asked to take a picture of the cake! Yay! Of course, Anna had a blast and with all her friends.

Let me know if you used any of these ideas for your birthday party. I would love to see what you make!

January 10, 2011

The Power of No

Zoe has not wanted to go to sleep. She has just moved to a regular sized twin, from a toddler bed, as of this weekend. She'll put up a fight to get in her bed. Most nights she will play until she falls asleep on the floor. Holding, snugging, having her crawl into our bed will not work. She'll wake up and wander everywhere if we don't put the baby gate up in the hallway. I been through two other kids doing this and I know it will pass in a few months.

Today she played in her room, until I had enough of it. I decided to sit in the rocking chair, in her room, to make sure she stayed under the covers. She yelled "NO!", in her every so cute almost two year voice, sat up and threw the quilt over her head. There she sat pouting and within two minutes the quilt rocked and swayed. She fell to the pillow once and tried to get up, but fell fast asleep, on her pillow, with the quilt on top of her face. I adjusted it slightly and with no fear of her seeing me leave the room, I did so. These next few weeks are going to prove interesting.

I'm going to take a nap now and save up some sleep.

January 9, 2011

Cathedral Window Quilt

Cathedral Windows

A challenge I have laid out for myself this year- at least one window a day with updates on Sunday. If I do more yeah! I just love these heirloom type quilts and can't stop myself. I knew I had a plan for the Meadowsweet. I am using Kona Snow for the background. So far, I have stuck to the plan. This is the first block with day 1-7.

January 8, 2011

Happy Birthday!

Anna's birthday party went off without a hitch. Per usual tradition, I break out the fondant and I make my sweet Anna her heart's desire.


I'll blog more about it Monday...

January 5, 2011

Mugrugitis?

Mugrugitis- when you start making little tiny tiny quilts, 5 by 8 inch-ish, and convince people you need them for their coffee cups because they're so much fun to make.

If you are wondering why I have been ignoring, not leaving bloggy comments or just in general been MIA this holiday season, here are some of the reasons why.

A mug rug with happy MM ta dots, happy (crazy) binding, and 100% linen, based on an idea from  Pin. Sew. Press.,

mugrug3


the artsy/Kona cotton look here, hoping it would look manly enough for an office,

mugrug4


the woodsy look here, using some Modern Meadow and some Wild Thyme,

mugrug1


the 1 inch postage stamp style, remembering Heidi's postage stamp along,

mugrugs2


with backs that remind me of Hallmark cards,

back of mugrugs2


an extra Little Red tissue holder, based on Sew Mama Sew's tutorial by JCasa *handmade, really fast and cute,

tissue holder


and kitchen towels in a classic look of toile.

toile kitchen towels



Which makes me insanely tired looking at it all. Plus three quilts, the third of which I haven't even shown you yet! (Kool-Aid girl I'll make your mug rug soon! ;) I did like trying different styles in the mug rugs without much commitment.

The postage stamp mug rugs came together really well and fast so I am making a 20 inch square postage stamp, a block a month, my personal goal, from this ribbon candy. It's all Christmas looking fabric! I'll have to wait. My Kona has been backordered and will be coming at the end of the month.

fabric ribbon candy


Anyone want to trade lots of 3 inch plus-ish strips in modern bright Christmas fabric? I am actually looking for some Funky Christmas by MM in particular too. I am on a fabric diet for at least a few months and I want this to be super scrappy.

Oh yeah and my bloggy anniversary has come and gone as of December 26 so I need to have a giveaway soon- fabric...books.. handmade? I have to think about that one, but I have a birthday party and family visiting the next week so you are just going to have to wait and see! :)

UPDATE: This will be added to Sew and Tell this week. If you have time, I would really love if you visited the quilt called Dancing Coins that has became my daughter's. I also shared the top with you in March and you might remember seeing it during Show and Tell too. That was my second post to this group! I hope you like it.