Monday, April 7, 2014

Easy as A-B-C Alphabet Baby Blanket

We interrupt all regularly scheduled sewing/quilting/crafting projects for a quick little Alphabet Baby Blanket.

I was going to make a couple of flannel receiving blankets for a family friend who is due soon, but couldn't find anything that appealed to me for a baby boy. I ended up buying something I've never worked with before ... a pre-quilted printed panel. The front is an adorable alphabet print and the back is the border fabric shown on the front. Inside is a light-weight polyester batting, perfect for Phoenix.

Also purchased a yard of light/dark green gingham checked fabric to make my own binding and some dark olive thread. I'm deciding whether I want to round the corners and make the binding on the diagonal or just leave it straight. Either way, this is so cute and so simple. More to come after binding ...

So many projects, never enough time ...

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

New Beginnings - A Wedding and a Signature Quilt

Our baby girl married her sweetheart recently in a beautiful ceremony in our back yard. It was an intimate gathering of 38, including the bride and groom. 

They had a mid-morning ceremony with a brunch reception that included some lovely personal touches provided by family and friends. It was a wonderful day with continuous celebrations in the days before and after.

Rather than have a traditional guest book, we had each guest sign a quilt block that will be made into a signature quilt to commemorate the day. The quilt will be in their wedding colors of ivory and green. I'm planning a king size quilt with a simple layout created in the Quilt Studio app on my iPad. It will be made of 8-1/2" blocks in three fabrics that will resemble a large plaid quilt top.

The medium and dark green fabrics …

The lightest fabric is a solid ivory that each guest signed with a black Pigma Micron 05 pen. I pre-washed the fabric to remove the sizing and help ensure that the signatures are permanent.

We set up a spot on the dining room table where guests could sit and sign. I did write up a set of instructions and included a piece of 8-1/2" card stock to place the fabric block on as well as a piece of card stock with a window cut out to lay over the top. This was to ensure that no one wrote in the seam allowances. Extra fabric squares were provided just in case and a practice square so they could get a feel for the pen. There was also a large piece of cardboard underneath it all to protect the table top.

Here are a few of the personalized blocks …

and one from the youngest attendee …

As I write this, the green fabrics are being pre-washed. I am looking forward to completing this quilt and presenting it to the newlyweds -- eventually -- ready to snuggle under.

A couple more photos taken by my photographer sister …

The Momma and the Baby Girl

The Daddy with the Newlyweds

Love … Love … Love!

So many projects, never enough time ...

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Gadgets & Tools I Love: Toastabags

Whether in the craft room or kitchen, I Love-Love-Love any gadget or tool that makes life easier, a.k.a., more fun!

Working at Sur La Table, I'm fortunate to learn about many great kitchen products and I've heard customers rave about these Toastabags too many times not to try them.

Here is a Ham and Swiss plated fresh out of the Toastabag, all melty and toasted ... 


You can adjust the setting on your toaster for level of brownness. This one was done all the way on high.

Best part is the bags are washable and reusable up to 50 times. A package of 3 runs $8.95 so $3 per bag. 

No grill pan or skillet to clean and they can even go in the dishwasher. I just hand-wash and prop 'em open on the drying mat to drain ... easy-peasy. If your kid can use a toaster, they become Chef Grilled Cheese! And have you ever toasted a PBJ? Good stuff!

Please know that I am not being compensated for this product, but I do like to share products I love and this one is definitely a keeper in our house!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Dani Bag

Finally made it into my craft room yesterday after months of neglect. Of course, it became the "hide the crap" room during the holidays and I am working retail now so was just extra busy and low on sewing time and energy. But, thankfully, all is back in order. My sweet Hubby even surprised me in December by having my beautiful old 1969 Bernina serviced. What a difference ... I was flying on that thing!


So I made a beautiful little tote bag as a gift. It turned out great and I used a method for the top edge and handles that I had seen on a recent episode of Fons & Porter's Love of Quilting. Best part: No Binding!

I like to personalize with my embroidery machine so put a tab on the side where sunglasses or keys can be hung.

This was so easy to make. I'm planning to write out the pattern soon and make more!

So many projects, never enough time ...

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Glitter Me Happy

With the Christmas tree up, it was time to decorate our double front doors but I just couldn't make myself put up the old wreaths that I had made when we moved into this house 15 years ago.

Those darling, fluffy tulle wreaths are the cutest so I headed for Hobby Lobby where all the Christmas goodies were 50% off. Ashley and I had decided on traditional red and green Christmas colors and once I saw the glitter tulle, it was on. Sometimes you just have to sparkle. 

I decided to go with wire wreath frames rather than styrofoam because they're more durable and, surprisingly, less expensive. I used a 12-1/2" quilting ruler to quickly wrap and cut strips of tulle (just like cutting fringe), doing an entire spool at a time and making each strip 12-1/2" long. I knotted on two strips of green, then two strips of red. Each wire wreath has five sections and putting eight strips in each section was just right.

Front ...

Back …

When I got to the last section. I knotted a 25" strip of tulle on the outer ring for a hanger and a little ornament on the inner ring to dangle in the center of the wreath. Then finished up by knotting on the final strips and fluffed the tulle to the front of the wreath.

This is an extremely fast project. I had both wreaths cut, assembled and hung on the doors in just an hour-and-a-half. I think it took me longer to vacuum up the mess because, frankly, it looked like a glitter factory had exploded in my kitchen. Thought I had it conquered, too, until hubby walked in and pointed out that my face, shirt, pants and shoes were still sparkling. (Note to self: If glitter tulle is involved, do the prep work outside.)

With the tulle and ornaments half off and using a 40% off coupon for one of the wire wreath forms, both wreaths totaled less than $20. I only needed 3 each of the 12 yard spools of tulle and still had a little of those left when finished. It's a great way to get your sparkle on and celebrate!

So many projects, never enough time ...

Monday, October 28, 2013

Palindrome Quilt

Good grief, Charlie Brown, it's been nearly a month since I last posted anything ... or graced the door of my crafting studio except to finish Ashley's Christmas quilt and sew a button on a pair of shorts. Since then, I've started a new job which is extremely fun, retail with fluctuating hours and days, a lot to learn and, not complaining, but somewhat exhausting. That first week, I was sure my head was going to explode and my feet were going to fall off, but I'm cruising now and it's a good thing since we are moments away from holiday shopping.

Ashley's quilt, which we've named the Palindrome Quilt because it reads the same from top to bottom and vice versa, is a super easy project, great for beginning quilters and to feature your favorite fabric prints. We spent a few hours at Joann's where she painstakingly selected 8 prints. The peppermint stripe in the third panel we also used for the striped binding. In the ninth panel, the snowflake print was used for the entire quilt back and the red and white polka dot was used for the border.

Ashley's favorite print is Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang. Seriously, who doesn't love "Charlie Brown Christmas?" Our holiday season is never complete until we've viewed this classic.

She had a very clear idea of how she wanted this quilt pieced, which was width of fabric strips with white sashing in between to feature the prints. She wanted them to go in a specific order to the center and then back again so Charlie Brown was on each end. We had 1/4 yard cuts that I sub-cut into 4" strips. The sashing and inner border has 1-1/2" wide strips.

The red polka dot outer border is comprised of 5" wide cuts. I purchased a full yard of this fabric just because it's so pretty and I knew I could easily, happily use it in other projects. I also purchased a yard of the peppermint stripe binding giving me 1/4 yard for the center stripes and 3/4 yard for the binding. 

The quilting is simple straight line quilting. Finished size on the quilt is 50" by 76" which is perfect to snuggle under while watching Christmas movies. Washed and crinkled, it's ready to go ...

So many projects, never enough time ...

Friday, September 27, 2013

Quilt Label for Charm Crossing

We've been enjoying the Charm Crossing quilt (pattern by craftytammie) for nearly a month now in the family room and I realized I had neglected to make a label for it. I have blankets from 30+ years ago when my daughters were born and wish I could remember who made them so a label is such a great idea. When my 16-year-old granddaughter asked what it was for, I told her, "So when YOUR grandbabies snuggle under it, they'll know who made it, when, and what the pattern was called."

I used my embroidery machine, even adding a cute little dragonfly, who I've decided resides in Charm Crossing ...

Added patchwork pieces of the backing and binding fabrics to frame it ...

Ironed a piece of interfacing over the back of the white embroidered piece to give it substance and keep the quilt's gray backing fabric from showing through. Stitched on lightweight fusible interfacing and did an appliqué turn, making sure the adhesive side would be down when turned. I keep extra pieces of interfacing in a jar for just this kind of thing ...

Once it was turned, I pinned the interfacing to the back and finger pressed the edges. Flipped it right side up, positioned it on the quilt back, carefully removed the pins from the back and repinned on the front. Pressed the edges, but it was so thick it wasn't adhering well so I kept it pinned for sewing ...

Then hand-stitched it, making sure only the binding fabric showed, not the interfacing ...

The label ended up finished at 7-1/2" by 6-1/2" in size. My Mom says it looks like it's floating on the back of the quilt, which is perfect.

Makes me happy!

So many projects, never enough time ...