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!

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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.

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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!!

New Goodies

Don’t you just love it when you get fun stuff in the mail?  Normally the mailbox is full of bills, so it’s nice to get stuff that you actually want sometimes.  Well, my mailbox has been full of little surprises lately.

Today I received the sweetest thank you note from Ashley at Wasn’t Quilt in a Day.  Ashley was one of the winners of the pin cushion give-a-way I did last month.  And the fact that she took the time to hand write a thank you note and post it in the mail is super nice.  I honestly didn’t know folks did things like that any more.  She lives in Jersey, but I’m wondering if maybe she isn’t a Southern girl at heart.  And although she is fairly new at quilting, let me just say that she is on a roll making beautiful quilts and her excitement is contagious!  Go check her out… I know she’ll end up being one of your favorite bloggers.

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Then last week, I had new fabric arrive two days in a row.  It was Christmas in August.

First, I was the lucky winner of a $15 gift certificate to the Fat Quarter Shop given to me by Richard and Tanya Quilts as part of their Link a Finish Friday.  Oh yeah!  I almost never win anything… and I won and couldn’t believe it!  And boy did I make the most of my winnings.  I shopped from the 50% off category and was able to buy three whole yards of delicious Moda fabric.  With my gift certificate, it cost me just $1 plus shipping.  I like that kind of shopping.  Be sure to visit Richard & Tanya — they are super nice folks.

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Then the next day, I was blessed to receive a box from Art Gallery Fabrics.  Remember the umbrella I made and entered into their Make it Right Challenge.  Well, I didn’t win the popular vote.  I’m not surprised really.  Although I had a good entry, I don’t have a ton of friends or a huge following of folks that would likely vote for me.  But, I did win the ‘Most Creative’ category as voted on by the Art Gallery Fabrics designers and staff which is a huge honor.  I didn’t know what to expect as part of the swag bag, so I was super excited to open the box.  Look at what I found — a twin size pack of cotton batting, an 8-fat quarter pack of the Textures fabric line by Angela Walters, a 6-pack of various other Art Gallery Fabric lines (each piece is between 17″-25″), a 10-pack of beautiful Aurifil thread, and a free Craftsy class.  How exciting is that!

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It’s been a while since I posted a finished project… in fact it’s been a while since I posted at all.  It’s been a busy summer but I have managed to get one or two things done.  I made this baby quilt with the same fabric that I used for the umbrella.  I like the chevron pattern, although I think I went about making it the hard way.  Next time I’ll know better.DSC_0039I used left over scraps for the back.  I had a few other blocks made with the scraps, but I decided that including all of them would make it too busy.  I guess they’ll find their way into another quilt at some point.DSC_0034

Linking up with Link a Finish Friday at Richard and Tanya, and Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Thanks for stopping by!

Make it Right Challenge Entry Unveiled — time to vote!

So, 2 weeks ago I gave you a teaser on what I made for the Make It Right Challenge sponsored by Art Gallery Fabrics.  I was finally able to take some pictures on a recent visit to our beautiful Duke Gardens, and I am ready to share it with you.  Drum roll please….

It’s an umbrella and/or parasol —

DSC_0494I thought long and hard about what I wanted to make for this challenge.  I thought there would likely be a lot of quilts and bags, and I wanted to do something different and unexpected.   Before this, it never crossed my mind to recover an umbrella; but out of the top 3 things I had on my list, that was the one that just seemed to stick in my mind.

DSC_0493So I ordered the fabric and started looking for a frame.  I found a cheap 60″ umbrella on a popular online electronic commerce website.  (I definitely wouldn’t recommend what I bought for it — I had two shipped to me and they were both broken in one way or another.  I had originally thought I might turn this into a pattern, but if I do that I would need to find a better quality umbrella frame.)  And, on retrospect, maybe I should have gone with a slightly smaller version.  This 60″ wide umbrella is big enough for two!

Once I had the pattern designed, it wasn’t very hard to piece it all together.  It is pieced with Aurifil thread which stitched wonderfully.  The only broken thread I had was when I was sewing with the ‘pedal to the metal’.  Getting it on the frame though was a different story.  Let’s just say there was a lot of trial and error, and several days of refitting.  It has been treated with a waterproofing product, so although I took pictures on a sunny day (sunny days just work better for picture taking), it can be used in the rain.

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All entries are to be uploaded to AGF’s Pinterest board today.  I can’t wait to see what everyone made.  Voting is done by pinning and liking.   Please do not pin from this site since it cannot be tracked.  You actually have to pin from the Art Gallery Fabrics board on Pinterest.  Go take a look and vote for your favorite (hint, hint).  Here is a link to the challenge entries and mine is under “Make It Right – Apparel”.  http://pinterest.com/artgalleryfab/make-it-right-apparel/.

I still had about 10-days left until the deadline for submitting projects, so I thought I would just ‘throw together’ a baby quilt with the left over fabric and submit it as well.  Honeyman laughed at me in thinking I could just ‘throw’ something together – I tend to lean more towards the complicated projects rather than simple ones.  I thought it was possible, but I ended up getting sick for about 5-6 days and was not able to get it finished in time.  But here is a sneak peak of it.  Hopefully, I’ll have it finished in the next week.  Although it won’t be finished in time to be submitted for the challenge, a finish is still something to be celebrated.

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

Pillow Pop

I finished a beautiful pillow today.  We are doing a pillow exchange at the Triangle MQG this month, so I made this pillow for my secret pillow partner.  This pattern is called Gumdrop and can be found in the book Pillow Pop.  Our pillows were supposed to be 18″ so I had to adjust the size of each block slightly.

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I had a lot of fun making this, and love all the bright colors.  From what I hear, a long running stitch is all the rage in modern quilting now.  So, I decided to quilt this pillow using the long running stitch, and I love how it turned out.  I really hope she likes it!

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I have another finish this week as well.  I finished my challenge project for the Make it Right Challenge with Art Gallery Fabrics.  I have not yet been able to take picture though– it’s been rainy all week, and today was much too windy outside.  Hopefully one other day this weekend I can get some pictures taken and show it to you.  In the meantime, here is a sneak peak…

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DSC_0252-001 sneak peak 2Oh, and I made one more square for Quilts for Boston and got those mailed off to the Boston MQG.  Click here to see the other blocks I made.

DSC_0260-001Overall, a very successful sewing week, fit in with work and a Kenny Chesney concert.

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

I’m Excited!

I’m so excited today!  First, my craft room is featured on Art Gallery Fabric’s blog today.  Check it out here

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Second, I got in my Art Gallery Fabric’s fabric order today.

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I plan to participate in their ‘Make it Right Challenge’.  The prizes for the winners are awesome — cash and a swag bag full of goodies!  It doesn’t get any better than that.

I also got in the other item I need for this challenge.  But I can’t show you what that is or you’ll know what I’m making.  It’s a surprise!  I’ll post an update when I have it finished.

Their cotton fabrics are delicious.  They are so soft, silky, and smooth.  They are really easy to work with, and stitch up ever so nicely.  I participated in the monthly challenges they sponsored last year.  It was so much fun and really challenged my creativity.  I actually won one of those — it was thrilling!  Here are some of the pictures from those challenges.

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I can’t wait to start sewing!!

Lego, Car, Truck Sack Tutorial

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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.

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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.

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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)

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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.

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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.)

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

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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.

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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.

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

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 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. 

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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.)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Congratulations!  You have just made a lego sack.

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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.

Welcome to My Craft Room

One of the many items on my list to do this year was to clean my craft room.  It has been at least a year since I have cleaned to the point that I could see all my counter tops at the same time.  I would clean a little bit here and there just to have room to do the current project I was working on, but then it would quickly get messy again.  So, I have spent the last 3 evenings working on cleaning up my space.  I didn’t get down deep and purge any old stuff, but at least I can cut, iron, and sew without having to move piles or continually drag stuff onto the floor and then trip over it.

The other thing that makes this harder is the fact that I am interested in so many different hobbies.  So, I’m trying to fit supplies for quilting & sewing, embroidery, crocheting, basket making, and general hobby stuff (paint, stamps and ink, paper, heat gun, etc) all into an area that is about 100 square feet.  It’s actually just 1/2 of a larger room, so I also have only have one wall and about 5′ of another wall to work with.  But it keeps it all out of the dining room and family area, so I’m happy to have an area that is permanent and doesn’t have to be moved or cleaned up continuously.

Welcome to my craft room.  We built this area several years ago, but I’m not sure it’s ever been this clean. The first thing you will notice is a pool table in the middle of the floor.  We covered the table with a large sheet of 3/4″ ply board.  I have converted it into my cutting table on one end, and my ironing area on the other end.  In the middle, I have piles of fabric and patterns that won’t fit into the cubby holes (we’ll get to those in a minute). (Note: I might have a fabric addiction.)  I also have, in the middle of the table on the other side, a basket of UFOs and a basket of embroidery thread.  Under the table are plastic containers with (more) fabric, yarn, general craft supplies, and more UFO’s.

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On the short wall I have a peg board full of basket making reeds of all different sizes.  The corner holds my large roll of quilt batting.

And along the long wall I have 10′ of desk space, cabinets, and shelving.  We built the shelving.  There are 7 areas that are approximately 13″ x 34″ each.  They can each be divided into 3 sections using removable dividers.  The desk area is divided into 2 main sitting or sewing areas.  It is a 10′ piece of counter top from Lowe’s that is sitting on 3 bottom cabinets.  The cabinets came from a Habitat Re-Store.  They were 80’s yucky wood cabinets so I painted them inside and out.  I also have an inspiration wall over my sewing machine, and a ribbon and small design area over the other sitting area.

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Inside the cubbies is (more) fabric, yarn, basket making supplies, software, embroidery hoops, magazines, pictures, and craft supplies.  On top of the desk is 2 sewing machines — my Bernina that I use all the time and my old Singer that I still use sometimes — laptop, thread, stamp pads, brushes, pens and pencils, etc.  I have two 10-outlet power strips over the desk as well so I have plenty of room to plug in the laptop, sewing machines, phone charger, iPad charger, external hard disk drive, camera battery charger, rotary blade sharpener, extension cord for iron, halogen lights over the sewing areas, etc.  (It is really quite ridiculous how many electronic things we have).  And in the cabinets — sewing notions, polyester fiber fill, stabilizer, and stamping and scrapbooking supplies.

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Lighting… we installed halogen light strips over each of the sewing areas.  Also, we have a a strip of daylight bulbs on 3 sides shining on the pool table.  I do still get shadows, but overall the lighting is very good for detailed work and much better than your typical room lighting in any house.

So, that’s it.  It will be very nice to work in a clean room.  But I also have no misconceptions about it staying this way.  Like most creative individuals, I can be pretty messy.

And now I can mark something off my list… but in the process, I found another 10-12 UFOs to add to my list.  And we won’t even talk about the fabric I found that I bought for projects that haven’t even been started yet.