Three Dimensions of Happiness

Yippee!  I finished a quilt this week.  This makes 3 so far this year, which has got to be a world record!  (At least for me it is)  Meet “Three Dimensions of Happiness” — my honeyman named it!

Last October, our quilt guild decided to participate in the Riley Blake challenge sponsored by The Modern Quilt Guild.  We each received 6 fat-eighths of fabric.  The rules are that you could make anything, but it had to be quilted, and you could add other solids and other Riley Blake fabric.  I had been working on a design for a baby quilt and decide to use the fabrics from this challenge for that.

IMG_3348

I get ideas from the strangest places — sometimes I see patterns in nature, furniture,  architecture, or sometimes I dream patterns.  Much to the embarrassment of my husband (hey, what are wives for?), I often stop and take pictures of carpet, fixtures, ceiling beams, silos, or whatever catches my eye.  I am loving the modern technology that allows me to have a camera in my cell phone!  But, because of this, I have many more ideas than I have time to make.

So one evening Iast fall, I was watching an episode of Hawaii Five-O and there was a piece of art work on the wall in one of the scenes that I loved.  It was simple and modern and I thought it would make a good quilt.  Once I had the center made, I thought it needed a border and dreamed that a alternating white/colored border would look good.  So I just sewed some strips together, none of which were the same length, and then sewed them around without caring much where the colored pieces fell.  And… I don’t love it.  I think it may look better on a larger quilt, but I don’t love it here.  So, I’ll likely redesign the border a bit before finalizing the pattern.

DSC_0636

I decided to quilt it in a spiral and I LUV how it looks.  But, I promise you, it is more difficult than it looks — especially in the center.   In fact, it just about killed me.  Well, not physically, but mentally.  Once I had 4-5 rounds done, it got much easier, but the center part was hard on my home machine.  And it pushed the fabric a lot since I kept sewing in the same direction.  I should have either pinned it more or used a spray adhesive.  Next time I’ll know and it will likely be less noticeable once I wash it and everything shrinks a little.

DSC_0659

The binding is not part of the fabric that I got for the challenge, but it is a Riley Blake print called Shuffle.

DSC_0660

Linking up with Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, Link a Finish Friday at Richard and Tanya, Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, and Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation.

Top Posts

I find it interesting to look at the stats to see which posts have been most popular.  Two posts stand at the top with 3 times the views as the third post on the list.

First up is 1 Year Blogiversary.  The top search terms have nothing to do with a blogiversary, so my guess is that all the visits to that post came internally from WordPress.  If I had known it was going to be such a popular post, I would have put some more meat in it.  It was pretty boring as posts go.  Oh well, lost opportunity there.  For my next Blogiversary I’ll be sure to plan something grand!

IMG_3534

Up next is Baked Apple Slices – no added sugar.  This is an excellent recipe and everyone loves it.  Even if you’re not trying to cut down on sugar, the apples themselves have so much sugar you feel like you are eating an apple pie without the crust.  I find it strange that this is the second most visited post though because this isn’t a recipe site.  In fact, I have just three recipes listed.  This one, Choconut Chippers, and Game Day Sausage Dip, which is, ironically, the least visited post ever.   But search terms for the baked apples are coming from all over with things such as:

  • baked apple slices no sugar
  • no sugar baked apple slices
  • stewed apples no sugar
  • baked apple slices without sugar

I sure hope someone has decided to try the recipe and that they loved it!

Baked Apple Slices

And rounding out the top three posts… Lego, Car, Truck Sack Tutorial.  This is a cool sack for kids to carry their toys around.  I first heard about it as a lego sack, but I thought it would work great for cars, especially with road map fabric on the inside, so that is how I made it for my grandson.

DSCN0073

And the top referrer to my blog is Crazy Mom Quilts.  Thank you!   Go check out her blog when you get a chance.  It is full of great quilting projects.

What does all this tell me?  Keep linking up my quilting projects with Crazy Mom Quilts until I can turn this into a full-time blog.  And, I either need to include more no-sugar/low-sugar recipes or I need to create a new no-sugar/low sugar blog.  Hmmm… now, that’s an idea!

Here are some of my favorite posts that I think you might enjoy.

Thanks for reading.  I am truly humbled that you have taken the time to read my posts and follow my blog.  I do appreciate each and every one of you!!

Madrona Road Challenge – How Ideas are Born

This past February I joined the Triangle MQG and decided to participate in my first challenge with the group.  We were given seven fat eighths of fabric from the Madrona Road line by Violet Craft for Michael Miller fabrics.

2013-05-13Our challenge was to make something, anything really, from these 7 fat eights.  And the only real rule was that you could only add other solids.  No other prints were allowed.  To make this even more challenging, I didn’t particularly care for this fabric.  I liked the black with the writing, and the blue with the lighter blue criss-cross lines (I think it’s called haystack).  But overall, the rest of the fabric is definitely not something I would have picked out.  But it was free and I just couldn’t pass up free fabric or the challenge — I really do like to be challenged.  The unveiling was planned for the May meeting — just 3 months away.

Oh, what should I make?  When I first got the fabric I was working a lot and didn’t have much time to think about it, but it was still in the back of my mind.  A month later, I still didn’t have a clue.  I thought I might want to turn it into a full size lap quilt, but seven fat eighths didn’t leave me much to work with.  But work was slowing down just a bit, so I had a little time to play around.

I played with squares…

IMG_2219

I played with circles…  I even colored the circles to match the fabric hoping that would help.

DSC_0912

Did I want to make a stuffed toy?  Did I want to make a skirt, or a bag, or a _____ (file in the blank)?

But, nothing seemed to be ‘just right’.  So, I put it aside for another couple of weeks while I got through the next deadline for work, and while I waited for the fabric to ‘talk’ to me.  Maybe if I listened hard enough, it would tell me what it wanted to be.  So I would look at it and think about it, and look at it and think about it…  This went on for a couple of weeks before I figured out what it wanted to be…

This blue haystack I decided wanted to be an elephant.

DSC_0269-002

Cool, I could do an elephant on a baby quilt.  I like baby quilts.  I can be just as creative as I want to be, they don’t take too much time to make or quilt, and they make great baby gifts. But how do I fit the other fabrics into this?  I could make an elephant parade, or elephants stacked on top of each other, or I could simply make just one elephant and use the other fabrics as a border.  Or… the one elephant could be holding something in his trunk.  Yes, that’s it!  And the idea for my challenge quilt was born.  It was designed, appliqued, quilted, and bound in about a week, and weeks before the unveiling at the meeting yesterday.

Meet Elijah Elephant.  (He’s a nice elephant, so we can give him a nice strong Bible name.)

DSC_0263-001

This is the back.

DSC_0266-001

I also free motion quilted smaller elephants onto the background.

DSC_0268-001

I’m very pleased with how he turned out.  If I had planned to make an elephant from the very beginning, I don’t think it would have been as good.  I think my brain needed to go through the process of figuring out the personality of the fabric.

And that’s how ideas are born… many weeks and months of planning, thinking, designing, and thinking some more.  Then the idea is finally formed and the plan implemented, usually in a much quicker manner than what it took to come up with the idea to start with.

Linking up with Plum & June Blossom Art Quilts for Let’s Get Acquainted. (Hope I”m doing this right)

Let's get acquainted

Little Man Suspenders

sThe two older monkeys were in their aunt’s wedding a few weeks ago.  Aren’t they adorable?

DSC_0178-002

DSC_0149-002

DSC_0161-002

I made the bow tie and suspenders for little man, and wanted to share with you a very easy tutorial for the suspenders.  If you aren’t not interested in the tutorial, you can stop reading now.

To make the suspenders you will need the following:

Fabric – 2 pieces 2-5/8″ x 21/23″

Interfacing – 2 pieces 2-5/8″ x 21/23″ 

Elastic – 2 pieces 1″ x 5″ (I used non-rolling elastic)

4 suspender clips 

Matching thread

2013-04-03Insert one end of an elastic piece through loop in clip, fold under 1/2″ and stitch in place using a zig zag stitch across the raw edge.  Be sure to secure your stitches.

DSC_0028-001Repeat with other piece of elastic and a second clip.

DSC_0029-001Set these two pieces aside.

Attach interfacing to wrong side of fabric (I used iron on).  Fold fabric lengthwise with right sides together and then sew down the long side using a scant 1/4″ seam to create a tube with both ends left unsewn.  Repeat with other piece of fabric.

DSC_0030-001

Turn right side out.  Roll seams between your fingers to move seam to edge.

DSC_0032-001Reposition seam to the middle of the back side of strap and press.

DSC_0033-001

On one end of the fabric strap, fold the raw edge about 1/2″ into the tube to create a finished edge.  Insert elastic approximately 1/2″ into the tube.

DSC_0034-001

Top stitch close to edge to finish off.  Repeat with other strap.

DSC_0035-001At this point you have two straps.  You just need to figure out how long they should be. Now would be the best time to grab your little man and try them on.  Attach the clips to the back of the pants, drape over the opposite shoulder, pull down to the top edge of the front part of the pants, and mark with a pin.

Slide on a clip.  My clip has an approximate 1/2″ area from where the top edge of the pants will be in the clip to where the strap will be attached to the clip, so I actually want my suspenders 1/2″ shorter than what I just measured.

DSC_0039-001Cut length of strap approximately 1″ from where the strap will be folded when attached to the clip.

DSC_0040-001As with the other end of the strap,  fold the raw edge about 1/2″ into the tube to create a finished edge

DSC_0041-001

Slide the strap onto the clip, folding under to the back side at the position marked by the pin.  Be sure the strap is lying flat on the table and that the top side of both clips (one on each end) are facing the same way (both facing up).

S

Top stitch close to edge to secure strap to clip.

DSC_0043-001Time to grab your little man and try the suspenders on again.  Clip the elastic end to the back side of the pants, drape over the opposite shoulder, pull down to the top edge of the front of the pants and attach with the clips.  Pin in place where the straps cross in the back.  Remove the suspenders and mark a chalk triangle where they need to be sewn together.

DSC_0044-001Topstitch on top of the chalk triangle.  Your suspenders are finished.  Well done.

DSC_0045-001

(Note: these suspenders actually slid off his shoulders a little bit.  I would probably sew the triangle a little higher up the straps next time so it will be closer to the middle upper part of his back and that should fix the problem.)

DSC_0159-002

Lego, Car, Truck Sack Tutorial

DSCN0073

My grandson turned 2 today.  He loves playing with cars and trucks.  To him, anything with wheels is a truck — a vacuum cleaner, a bus, a cart.  There is no difference.  Wheels = truck.  Period.

I made my nephew a Lego sack in December for Christmas and I thought it would be a great idea for a truck sack as well.  All you need is somewhat different fabric, and you have a cool sack for things with wheels.

Following is a tutorial for making your own sack whether it be for Legos, things with wheels, or little ponies.  I included a bunch of pictures, so this post is quite long.  But it’s easy peasy so you should be able to get through it quickly.  Feel free to let me know if you have questions, or if you run across problems with the tutuorial

Lego Sack or Car Sack Tutorial

Materials Needed:

1-1/4 yards interior fabric

1-1/4 yards exterior fabric

4-1/8 yards cording or rope, 3/8” – 1/2” wide

Scrap pieces of heavy duty interfacing or craft fuse

General Sewing Supplies – thread, scissors, pins, marking pen or chalk, measuring tape

Most fabric is 42”-44” wide.  You will want to start by cutting the length of your fabric to be the same as the width of the fabric.  So, if your fabric is 44” wide, the length should also be 44” so that you have a square.  There are a couple of ways you could do this as pictured below.  This is a small sample of fabric I am using just for demonstration.  This does not need to be perfect, close will work.

s DSC_0836-001

Once you have your fabric length and width the same size, fold the interior fabric in half, and then in half again, such that a square is formed.   Then do the same for the exterior fabric.  Place one on top of the other, matching the corner fold and lining up the edges.

DSC_0779-001

Using your measuring tape, measure from the folded corner out to the raw edge, a distance of ½ of the width of your fabric.  My fabric was 44” wide and 44” long before I folded it into a square; therefore I am going to measure 22” from the folded corner and make a mark at that point.  If your fabric was 43” wide, you would be making a mark at the 21 ½” point.  (Note: from the last picture to this picture, I flipped my fabric over so the folded corner would be to my left, instead of my right.  I am right handed so I wanted to hold the tape at the folded corner with my left hand, and make the marks at 22″ with my right hand)

DSC_0782-001DSC_0781-001

Continue to move the tape measure across the square of fabric, starting at the folded corner each time and making a mark at the 22” point.  This will create an arc across your fabric.

DSC_0784-001

Once you have an arc marked across your fabric, cut along the dotted line.  (Note: You will be cutting through 8 layers of fabric, so if your scissors are not strong enough for this, you will need to cut the interior and the exterior fabric separately, in which case the other fabric will also need to be marked following the instructions above.)

DSC_0786-001

 Once you have cut along the arc you should have two nearly perfect circles that are 44” in diameter.

DSC_0787-001

At this point you will need to decide how you want to create the holes on the interior fabric for access to the cording.  I used buttonholes for mine, but you could also use extra large eyelets.  On the interior fabric, place pins marking where you would like to create the buttonholes.   I put 4 buttonholes on mine, spaced evenly around the circle.  Since the fabric had been folded it had created 4 equaled-distance fold lines.  So I used those fold lines as placement for the buttonholes.

At the placement for the first buttonhole, measure down ¾” from edge and make a mark, and then measure down ¾” from that mark and make another mark.   This is where I will create a ¾” buttonhole, with a ½” opening.  I used a flat ½” wide cording and it was a tight fit through the buttonholes.  If you have a larger diameter cord, you may want to make a larger buttonhole.

DSC_0788-001

Now that I know where the buttonhole will be, I like to stabilize the fabric by ironing some interfacing onto the wrong side of the fabric before actually sewing the buttonhole.  I used heavy-duty craft fuse.  Since it has a grain, I ironed on one small piece on the back of where the buttonhole will be, and then ironed on another small piece on top of that with the grain going the opposite direction.  This will strengthen the buttonhole and provide more stability to this area since this is where the weight of the sack will be held.   I would also suggest doing this if you were to use large eyelets instead of buttonholes.

DSC_0789-001

Do this for all four buttonholes around your circle.  And then sew and open each buttonhole.  The interior of your bag is now ready.

DSC_0796-001

 If you wanted to do anything special to the exterior of the bag, now would be the time.  I embroidered my grandson’s name onto this one. 

DSC_0840-001

Moving on…

With right sides together, pin the circles together.  You don’t need many pins, but 10-12 around will help hold it together as you sew.  Once pinned, sew a 3/8” seam around, leaving about 4” unsewn for turning.  Clip edges around, being sure not to clip any of your stitching.  This will help the circle lay flatter.  (I forgot to take a picture of this, but if you need help with it, let me know and I’ll take a picture of a sample and email it to you quickly.)

DSC_0831

Turn right side out and press seam flat.  You may need to roll the seam between your fingers before pressing in order to get the seam to the outer most edge.

DSC_0832DSC_0833

Once the seam has been pressed flat, sew around edge of the sack about ¼” from edge.  Then sew around the sack again about 1-¼” from edge.   (If you do not have a sewing guide for your machine, you may need to mark this second line all the way around.  I know I wouldn’t be able to eyeball that distance with any precision.) The buttonholes should be between the two lines of sewing you just made.  This will create a pocket around the sack for the cord.

DSC_0834

Thread your cord through the pocket, all the way around until you get to the beginning again.  I like to use a safety pin to do this, although you might have your own favorite method.   Tie a knot to join the two ends.  You may need to burn both ends of the cord so it doesn’t unravel.

DSC_0908DSC_0910

Pull up a loop of the cord from the buttonhole that is directly opposite that knot, and tie a knot on that side as well.  This will give you easy access to pull the cord from each side to close the sack.  At the moment, I am leaving the other two buttonholes unused, but you may find it easier to close the sack from all four corners, rather than just 2, especially as it gets full.

DSC_0909

Congratulations!  You have just made a lego sack.

 DSC_0859

My grandson just turned two.  If you are making this for an older child, you may find that you need a larger circle.  To do this you would need to either buy 60” wide fabric or sew two widths of fabric together for both the exterior and interior.   You would also need a longer length of fabric.  However, the instructions for creating the sack would be the same.  You start with a square (the length and width of fabric being the same size) and go from there.