Wonky Houses & Trees Quilt

I have shared with you before that I am a member of a group with do.Good Stitches that makes charity quilts.  The group that I am a part of donates our quilts to Enchanted Makeovers, a non-profit organization that updates, or makeovers, shelters for abused women and their children.

It’s has taken me a while to get this quilt finished.  Well, that’s somewhat true.  It did take me several months to get it finished, but then it took at least that long to get pictures of it. I didn’t have a good way to take pictures of larger quilts (this one is twin size).  My honeyman was making something for me to hang large quilts from for picture taking, and he took his sweet time.  But we finally finished so I was able to get some pictures and am now able to share this fun quilt with you.

I asked each member of the group to make a wonky house and a wonky tree.  It could be pieced, paper pieced, or applique. There was complete freedom there.  I also didn’t want it to follow a pattern.  I wanted it to be very improv.  So I didn’t provide them with any instruction other than the idea below.  I designed this in excel when I was away from EQ7, so it is very rough.  But it’s gives you a good idea of what I was looking for.  (Bet you never thought of use excel to design quilts!)

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The finished blocks only needed to be within a certain size range.  The idea was to fill in the space between the blocks with scraps of fabric to keep the ‘improv’ look throughout the quilt.  I regretted that decision!  It turned out great!!

Ok, so it did take me a while to fill in all the spaces.  It turned out to be much easier to do on excel, than to actually do it with fabric.  I did a LOT of rearranging of the squares and a LOT of measuring.  Followed by a LOT of praying when cutting into the fabric just hoping it would be the right size.  And then I had to get very acquainted with partial seams.  And sometimes I even had to take out a seam and adjust things.

Here I am in the middle of trying to put it all together.  I have the left half done.  Just have to do the right half.

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Whew!  I finally got it together and quilted.  I love how FUN it turned out to be.

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Here is a close up of some of the blocks.  I quilted it with a meandering loop-d-loop.  And I washed it before taking pictures so it has a wonderful crinkly look and feel.  I could just snuggle up under it.

I also asked each member to make a fun additional block if they felt inclined.  And one member did.  She sent me a really cute dog.  Since I didn’t have others, I found it very challenging to fit it on the front of the quilt, so instead it because the honorary quilt label on the back.

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A special thanks goes to A Stitch in Time quilt shop in Franklin, NC, for providing the fabric for the back and binding.  If you’ve never been to this shop you really should make a special trip.  It’s one of the most beautiful shops I’ve even been in, and the people are just the nicest!

Measures 70″ x 90″.

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

Prairie Bonnet

I live in a small mountain town with my husband, teenage son, and parents.  Like most other small mountain towns, this town has quite a few vintage thrift and antique stores.  Tourist frequent the area and the vintage stores in the spring, summer and fall seasons, looking for treasures for their mountain homes or as a souvenir of their vacation.  My mother has a booth at one of the local stores and sells vintage items that she finds other places, and she requested that I make a prairie bonnet to put in her booth.

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First I tried to recall every single cowboy series I watched when I grew up, and of course Little House on the Prairie, and the women and their bonnets.  Thankfully I watched lots of those shows growing up so I had lots of memories to pull from.  LOL.

Then I trekked to the local quilt shop to find some fabric that would be suitable.  I decided the civil war reproduction prints – an area of the store I typically avoid like the plague –  would be the best place to look.  I found this blue mini fern print on a cream background and thought it looked kinda ‘prairie’-ish to me.  I think it will make a very pretty summer bonnet.

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Then after considerable search on the internet, I decided to use this pattern from Buns and Baskets to make my hat.  The pattern is simple and easy to follow and I love how all the seams are enclosed so there are no raw edges.   I worked on it two evenings.  Between the easy pattern, and the good quality fabric, it stitched up very nice.

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Now, she wants a pink one!  🙂

This is my 5th UFO finish for the year.  Linking up with Finish it Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts, and  Can I Get a Whoop Whoop at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

 

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.

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Yay, UFO #1 is complete!  Well, almost.  I still have to cut some stray strings, take my seam ripper to some basting stitches, and hang it on the wall.

This design is called Goose Tracks and is by HoopSisters.  You actually piece and quilt in the hoop as you go.  I started this as a block-of-the-month project at my LQS in Nov 2011.  We went through September 2012, then I still had to do the borders and put it all together.

Overall, I like how it turned out.  Before I started the quilt, I was really intrigued as to how the piecing and quilting in the hoop worked.  Once you do one block, it’s pretty easy to understand.  I have another UFO from HoopSisters that is also on my list for the near future — it was the mystery quilt they released last year.  So, I have no idea what it will look like since it is still a mystery to me.

I had fun doing this, especially since we did it as a group and I met new friends; and it has a big WOW! factor just looking at it.  However, after the mystery quilt I will probably not do another HoopSisters design.  I like their designs, but I felt as if my creativity was really squashed since I was only following along with the pre-designed software each month.  I think I would enjoy and get more satisfaction from continuing to sew and quilt my own designs.  And, I am working on several already.  I keep a graph paper spiral notebook handy most times and draw when the inspiration hits.  If I can just get through these UFOs, I can start on some new stuff and that is where the real fun lies.

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My little helper

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2012 Year in Review — Quilting & Sewing Part I

With working 10 hours a day and babysitting the grandbabies at night, I haven’t had much time to get any new projects done so I thought I would share with you some things I completed last year.

I started the year finishing a UFO which was a quilt for my son. He had a wonderful sweet white Pit Bull named Khane that had died about 6 months previously, so I made my son a photo quilt to remember him by. I had only known his dog for about a year, but when he died, I also cried like I had lost a family member. Between me, my son, and his girlfriend, my husband said he felt like he was at a funeral home. Khane was the best dog and I would have another one like him in a heartbeat. Anyway, I picked out 10 pictures that really showed his personality, designed a easy blocky pattern, picked out some masculine fabrics, and made a memory quilt in his honor. The pictures were printed onto colorfast fabric sheets so hopefully they will last for a while.  My son loved it!

My wonderful son

My wonderful son

Khane memory quilt

Khane memory quilt

Not exactly sure what I did after that.  My photograph library is pretty slim up until summer. It might have something to do with working 50-60 hours weeks.  I hope to do better than that this year.  So fast forward to summer.  I was still working 50-60 hour weeks but decided that I needed several simple things to sew.  All of our sandstone coasters were broken, so I decided to make some scrappy fabric coasters.  I just love these coasters.  They are colorful, they were quick to make, and they work wonderfully.  I even took one to work to use on my desk there.

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Up next, I made a laundry bag for my son’s girlfriend.  She was headed off to college at East Carolina, and every college student needs a big, sturdy bag to carry home all their dirty laundry.  I found some ECU fabric and matched it with some solids.  I lined the inside with duck cloth to make it stronger.  The original pattern came from the InStitches book by Amy Butler, although I did make a few changes as I went along.

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To round out the end of summer, I made an apron for the monthly challenge with Art Gallery Fabrics.  This was the first monthly challenge I participated in and I won!  I was thrilled!!!  Honestly, I would have participated in all of the monthly challenges, but I had just found them while searching the internet one evening.

The apron is my original design, it is reversible, and turned out so cute!  I love the Art Gallery fabrics — they are so soft and so easy to work with.  I am currently about half-way done getting this written up into a pattern.

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The next project was also for an Art Gallery Fabrics monthly challenge.  The challenge was to make a computer bag and it had to have an insert pocket.  Well, I really wanted to make an iPad cover, so I ended up making both in matching fabrics.  This was made with their Indie line of fabrics.  These are also original designs.  I hope to get them written up into patterns this year also.

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Guess I’ll close for tonight.  Until next time, may you have blissful dreams.

 

Sewing Withdrawal

I have been having some serious withdrawals when it comes to sewing.  Sewing is a stress relief for me and cheaper than therapy — well maybe…  My job is stressful — it often requires long days, lots of overtime, and being ‘on’ 8-12 hours a day.  Our busy season started this past week and technically won’t end until September 15.  We’ll have a little bit of relaxed time around May and June, but not much.  To top it all off, honeyman was out of town this week.  That left me with working long hours, coming home and taking care of the animals, fixing dinner, cleaning, and babysitting the monkeys.  I used to be a single mom and it is very hard work and certainly not anything I would ever want to do again.  By 9:30 each night I would crash.  So, I didn’t get any stress relief in this past week; and after 4-5 days, it didn’t make for a very nice me.

But today, I have been able to spend about an hour sewing.  Just after an hour, I feel much better.  I am working on an UFO that I started last year.  This is a block of the month at my LQS and I am working on the border blocks.  I have 8 more border blocks to make and then I can start putting it all together.  So, if I don’t get sidetracked onto another project, I should be able to have it completed in about 2 weeks.  Here is a border block and one other block to wet your appetite…

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2013 Goals — But NOT a New Year’s Resolution

Let me be very upfront about this. I don’t like New Year’s Resolutions. I honestly do not think I have ever seen anyone, and I mean ANYONE, keep or live up to their New Year’s resolution. I see it only as a way to let yourself down.

However, I do believe in setting goals. In fact, to quote a well-known financial guru, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Plans and goals are essential. Otherwise, you live day in and day out with no direction; and without direction, in 10-years, you’re likely to be exactly where you are now.

Very seldom does want you want come easy. It usually takes hard work and dedication. But what are you going to work towards if you don’t know where it is you want to be. Setting goals will give you that direction.  Your goals need to be SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-sensitive.  And goal setting can happen at any time, not just on the first day of each year.

So here are some of my short-term goals.

Quilting/Sewing related:

Other goals:

  • Spend more time with family and friends
  • Make a photo book for 2012
  • Plant, expand, keep up with my garden this year
  • Lose weight – isn’t this on everyone’s list?  I need to lose at least 40 pounds this year.  60 would be better, but we’ll keep it real at 40.  In order to meet that goal, I will need to:
    • Stay away from sugar and simple carbs
    • Exercise 5 hours a week.
  • Stay on a budget every month.
  • Work with monkey #1 on Pre-K workbooks
  • Do Financial Peace Jr. with my 12-year old