Tuesday, December 28, 2010

my best Christmas gift

I received some really great gifts this year, but this one was my favorite...

My husband put together this collage of some of my 2010 project photos using poster making tool. You just upload your photos, arrange them into a collage as you like, choose a background color, choose a poster size (mine's 20" x 30"), and send it off to one of 1500 nationwide stores with a poster printer. Pick up your printed poster, wrap it up, and voila - you win the medal for "Best Gift Giver".

He choose some really great ones to include: Grandma Elsie, colorful pillows, me and Kaffe :), baby quilts, and my favorite - the Crayon Box!

The colors in these photos aren't exactly true. I was trying to cut down on the glare, so it doesn't look as vibrant as is does in real life. And the clarity is amazing, not at all fuzzy like you sometimes get when expanding a photo to a larger size.

Once I get it framed and hung in my sewing room, it will be a daily reminder of all the things I've worked on and enjoyed this year. Thanks so much to my wonderful husband!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

because I need another project

No. Not really. I don't.

But due to a convergence of several factors...

1. My new car (well, 7 months old) wouldn't start in the garage today.
2. Said car was towed to the dealer to fix the problem of not starting.
3. Said car immediately started just fine for the mechanics (of course).
4. Browsing through a shop full of beautiful handmade items can usually improve a bad mood.
5. I had an hour to kill waiting for kid #2 to finish at her volunteer job.
6. The cutest stitchery shop is located oh so close to the previously mentioned volunteer job.
7. I hadn't visited this stitchery shop in a very long time.

...I ended up browsing at Welcome Stitchery.

And we all know what usually follows browsing - buying. So I came home with these new patterns and the fabric to start on one of them...

Just so you know, I mustered up some unbelievable restraint and did not buy the patterns for these two fun projects...

I'm gonna try and implement that rule about "not starting a new project until the current one is completed." Well, at least as far as cross-stitching is concerned. That's pretty much a lost cause as far as quilting goes...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

crafty weekend how-to

3 girls + 2 hours + 1.5 pounds clear glass gems + old catalogues** + scissors + hot glue + magnet tape =

138 mini-magnet gifts for friends, family and...

a couple of sets to keep...

Shoes (very girly of course!) and Paris (ooh la la!)

You'll need:

* a bunch of dome-topped, flat-bottom, clear glass gems from the craft store (the kind you put in fake flower vases. I bought a 3 pound bag from Michaels for $6.99)

* a roll of 1/2" wide adhesive magnetic tape (also at Michaels - looks like a skinny roll of masking tape. I bought the jumbo roll for $5.99 and now I have enough of this stuff to make a bazillion magnets, so maybe you don't need the jumbo size - LOL!)

* a low temp hot glue gun and scissors

* several pages with cute, tiny images from magazines or catalogues

We just cut small circles of cute images from the catalogues, put a blob of hot glue on the flat bottom of the gem, and pressed the gem back onto the image. I found that applying even, firm pressure caused the glue to spread to the edges, resulting in less image distortion from the front. (But hey, they're magnets, just jump in there and do it!) You may have to trim some of the catalogue paper from the back after gluing - it tended to hang over a bit sometimes because each gem is a little different sized. Then cut off a small square of adhesive magnetic tape, and stick it to the back of the gem. Repeat 99 times for 20 gift sets of 5 magnets each :)

We made a couple of practice ones at the start to see how much glue was needed. Another helpful tip is that some of the gems seemed to have an iridescent coating on the back, making it more difficult to see the image, so we tossed those aside and didn't use them.

Let me know if you make any of these, and send me a photo! And if you come up with other catalogues/magazines with great images, pass that info to me as well :)

A big THANK YOU to Heather at {House} of A La Mode for this great idea!

**catalogues used: Pottery Barn Teen, Vera Bradley, and Hancock's of Paducah

Saturday, December 11, 2010

it can be saved!

A couple of weeks ago I was looking in the trash bin at the cutting scraps from my new wave quilt - a bunch of oddly shaped skinny triangles - and thought "now surely something can be done with those!" So I sewed them all together and decided to make a little sewing supply bag for myself. And then I got busy piecing the actual quilt, and all the previously documented uncertainty surfaced, and so the little bag project just sat :(

Now this morning I realized that this little bag project would be the perfect way to test my hopes that purple quilting would cut down on the "green-ness" of the new wave quilt top. So I did a little doodling (a very little bit of doodling)...
... and came up with a free-motion design for the bag. Normally I would draw this design for about 10-15 minutes before actually quilting it, but hey, it's just a little bag for my threads and scissors, so I jumped in right away.

Not my best quilting effort, but I DO think the purple thread helps! And I have a new little bag, and I can proceed with the new wave quilt with a smile on my face :) Thank you again to all of you who told me not to give up just yet - that the quilting could change everything!

NOTE: I loosely used Terry Atkinson's Zippy Strippy Bag pattern for this project. I made several modifications in overall size and construction, so it finishes at about 11" wide, 6" tall, and 1.5" deep. A perfect size for travel toiletries too!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

thanks for the advice!

A big "thank you" to all who posted advice comments on my New Wave quilt :)

I have decided that the "green-ness" is what is bothering me. Since I am far too lazy to rip out all the seams and change the green (either in color or width), I've decided to quilt the heck out of the entire thing with variegated purple thread in the hopes of mitigating some of that green. More on that next week hopefully.

In the meantime I've been working on a special gift for one of my SewMod buddies. It's killing me that I can't show you, but she might be looking here (you never know!) The good news is that she'll be receiving it on Friday, so I can post a photo after that :)

Enjoy your day!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

not sure about this one

I've been working on Oh, Fransson's New Wave quilt with these fabrics...

While they were laying all together like this I really liked them. But now that they are sewn together into this...

I am definitely NOT loving it. The section in the center with the Kaffe Painted Daisies, the Carla Miller stripe, and the two other purple flowers - well that part looks okay. But the rest - not so much. This is no reflection on the pattern, mind you. The pattern is wonderful :)

Maybe it's the blue. I'm not really a blue person.

Maybe it's the green Moda Grunge sashing - maybe it's too wide? Because there sure seems to be a LOT of green sashing.

Maybe this one is just destined to be one of those quilt tops that never makes it out of the work-in-progress pile.

Advice? Suggestions? Anyone?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

pillow for a friend

Remember that lovely lady that I told you about earlier... the one that brought me all those 100+ Kaffe prints cut into precisely the right size for a quilt pattern?

I finally found the perfect way to thank her (and give her a big surprise as well)...

A modified Bento Box pillow with - you guessed it - more Kaffe fabrics! And a big wavy sunflower quilted all over the top, because who doesn't like sunflowers??

Glad you liked it, Sharon! I hope you've found a spot for it in your home :)

Note: I've used this pattern many times before and credit for the design goes to filminthefridge and Give It a Go.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

holiday memory lane

Well here it is December already, and I am still wondering what happened to October!

My family did most of our Christmas decorating last weekend. Digging out all that treasure once a year brings back such memories. I thought I would share with you some of my favorite handmade decorations...

This is a door hanging banner that I made a couple of years ago from a Patrick Lose pattern appropriately named "Merry". All the pieces are secured with fusible web and then machine blanket top-stitched. I just love this door hanging :) This was early in my "bright and bold colors" phase. I call it a phase because there are just too many colors in the world, and I am too fickle to stay in love with any one color scheme for long. You may recognize the gifts under the tree - I repeated those patterns in this Christmas block I did earlier in the year for one of my Fresh Modern Bee members, Janice.

This is a counted cross-stitch on linen piece that I made in 1995. Clearly this is from a different color/design era of mine, but I still love seeing it every year. My Aunt Karen (Elsie's daughter) was a very crafty lady who actually owned a cross-stitch and framing shop in my hometown. She taught me to cross-stitch before I had children, and I used it as a way to relax on my very long train ride to and from Chicago every work day. I have always thought of cross-stitching as a sort of grown-up version of coloring... and I LOVE coloring.

NOTE: excuse the poor lighting in these photos. It's a very dark and gloomy day here... [sigh]...

These Santa pieces are some of the very first cross-stitching I did. The patterns came from my Aunt's shop, and she framed them for me. I think I still have about six more patterns from this line that I never started... [sigh]...

And finally we have Snoopy and Woodstock. This piece is all 1970's felt and sequins. It's in remarkably great condition considering that I made it almost 35 years ago. I can still vividly remember sitting on my bedroom floor meticulously threading sequins onto my sewing needle. Back then I was much more into the whole completion thing, and didn't have more than one project going at a time, so I finished it in record time.

In retrospect it was most likely the project that began my life-long love of making handmade treasures.

Thanks Mom... for buying the kit for me, for putting up with me locking myself in my room to finish it, for keeping it safe all these many years, and for starting me on this wonderful road I'm riding on :)

What's the first thing you can remember making??


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