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 ...

Monday, September 23, 2013

Lunch Sack with Alphabet Bead Name Pin

So Hubby caught me dipping a frozen chunk of dark chocolate into the peanut butter jar. Not one of my prouder moments but the man gets me ... he laughed, grabbed a piece of chocolate and joined me! Speaking of snacks ...

Our youngest daughter had requested some lunch and snack sacks made with coated PUL fabric (polyurethane laminate). I found the PUL last year at Joann's in the baby section and had also picked up some coordinating fat quarters of cotton. For her recent birthday, I made her this little washable snack sack using a wonderful tutorial by Sew Can Do.

I pulled out fabrics and buttons and things, trying to figure out a way to make it personalized and fun. While digging through the drawers, I found a bag of alphabet beads and some pin backings and had the idea to create a name pin. The prints on my PUL fabrics featured owls or monkeys so I went with the owls plus orange and green cottons pictured on the right. {Note the brown paper lunch sack I had out for my original inspiration. Fortunately, I found the Sew Can Do tutorial, resulting in this great round lunch sack!} 

I made a couple of changes to the instructions:
  • Made the bag taller by a couple of inches
  • Used my serger for all seams and only used my sewing machine to topstitch
  • Used wide satin ribbon that I had on hand for the drawstring rather than the grosgrain ribbon called for

For the pin, I laid out the beads for her name and cut a piece of fabric large enough to allow me to double it, wrong sides together, stitch around leaving an opening for turning, then tuck the open end in and topstitch all the way around. I hand-stitched the beads to this little piece of fabric, starting with the center bead and working my way out on each side to make sure I had it centered nicely. Then I hand-stitched the pin backing to the back side. I pinned it to the lunch sack just below the drawstring casing, but the nice thing about a pin like this is that it can be removed and pinned on anything.

Inside and out, this lunch sack turned out so cute and the Sew Can Do tutorial was easy to follow.

This would make a great little bag to carry knitting and crocheting projects around in, too.

So many projects, never enough time!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

One Stitch at a Time

My youngest daughter sent me a photo from etsy a few weeks ago showing knee socks that rise above the top of the boot, embroidered with a 3-letter monogram -- $20 if you order them made for you. This was the perfect opportunity to use the lovely box of embroidery thread I found at a garage sale last year, even though I had to put a little WD40 on my rusty hand-embroidery skills.

The socks I found at Target for $2.50 a pair. I did purchase a roll of Sulky Water Soluble Stabilizer (with a 40% off coupon at Joann's) that I'll be able to use with my embroidery machine as well. I had the embroidery thread, needle and hoop on my shelves.

The first thing I did was spend a little time on the laptop looking at typestyles to see which font would look good for her monogram. With a 3-letter monogram, they go in this order: small first initial, large last initial, small middle initial. I settled on Snell Roundhand because it's a little fancy but not too much for hand stitching.

I printed this out on plain white paper to get the correct size, cut a small piece of water soluble stabilizer, laid it over the paper and traced the monogram onto the stabilizer with a Sharpie. (Used green ink so it would stand out from the black thread and make it easier to see my stitches.) I laid the stabilizer over the sock, figuring out where I wanted it to land (just under the heavy cuff) and hooped it. I used straight pins to help pin the rest of the cuff out of the way so I didn't accidentally stitch the top of the sock together.

I used black embroidery thread, a back stitch for all letters and went over the middle of the C again with a chain stitch ...

One thing to remember when doing a pair of anything: be sure to put your stitching on the correct side, i.e., to the outside of each sock.

It was fun to wash the water soluble stabilizer out of each sock and see it magically disappear. I ended up doing it twice because after they air dried the first time, I could still feel a little gluey stiffness that was left over. Rinsed them in the kitchen sink with a little warm tap water and a dab of hand soap.

We were finally able to celebrate Heidi's birthday with her belatedly last night and I think she liked her personalized knee socks. Hopefully, it will be chilly enough for her to wear them soon with her cute boots!

On an ooey gooey delicious dessert note, I made the Gluten Free version of Caramel Apple Butterfinger Bars by Confessions of a Cookbook Queen as a substitute birthday cake. A little heaven on earth that includes fresh Granny Smith apples, oatmeal, Butterfinger candy bars and Caramel ice cream topping. I didn't say it was calorie free, just gluten free, using GF Bisquick and Red Mill GF Oatmeal ...

Warmed up with a scoop of French Vanilla melting into all that caramel-y goodness ... just yum!

So many projects, never enough time!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The diet is working or Halloween, here we come

Excuse me, my quirky side is showing. Believe it or not, this is another destashing project. I found this bag full of unfinished wood skeletons, ghosts and Halloween ribbon on my craft room shelf that I think I bought around 2004. I had this idea way back then to put our photos on the painted wood pieces and use them for Halloween decorations on our double front doors.

Our ghost dogs ~ Louie and Milesyoulittlebastard ~ are being walked {floated?} by the Granddaughter. Cracks me up!

Everything was purchased at Michael's Craft Store. The skeletons are called Small Mr. Bones and were $2.99 each; the ghosts were $.49 each. I used a 4-yard spool of the orange and black gingham checked ribbon ($2.99) and part of the 3-yard spool of pumpkin ribbon ($1.99). The 1/4" dowel that we are suspended from was in the garage and Hubby cut two 12" lengths for me that I covered in ribbon. Used white acrylic paint, super glue gel and hot glue.

The photos are printed on regular white paper. I did one run to gauge size, had to enlarge them all and used the fine print setting on the second go round. I opened the photos in iPages on my Macbook, used the masking tool to draw a circle around our heads, then enlarged, printed and cut out. I printed the Granddaughter's photo in full so I could leave her hair long in front.

I know you could laminate the photos, but I decided to just use clear shipping tape that I had on hand. Taped strips over the back first, carefully flipped right side up and taped over the front. Then I cut out each photo leaving about a 1/16" edge of tape.

In the meantime, the Granddaughter was painting, which obviously required sustenance in the form of goldfish and Dr. Pepper ...

Ribbons were glued on the dog/ghosts to represent collars ...

Loops of ribbon were glued on the backs to hook them over the dowel for hanging ...

The skeletons came with wire hangers so I just looped and glued ribbons through the wires ...

And now we're just hanging around! Holding hands ... so romantic!

Actually, it's still too soon for these to go up but I wanted to share the idea early just in case anyone else had any cute skeletons in the family closet ...

Happy Halloweenies!

So many projects, never enough time ...