Sunday, November 20, 2011

Possessive Kitties

Tyco and Cleo are a bit possessive of the new quilt.

Julie got up from her desk chair to retrieve a print out and found Cleo staring her down when she returned:

Tyco didn't wait for her to get up. He just scooted in behind her:

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Birds for the Kitchen

After I made my mom two bird pot holders back in May, I told her I'd make her another square one since she liked that one better so she'd have a set. I meant to have it ready when I saw her in July...then in September...but I just didn't sew much this summer.

I decided to use a different, brighter color scheme for this one, so hopefully she doesn't mind that they are not a matching pair.

I really love this brown fabric. It doesn't match the birds at all, but the binding ties them together nicely. For some reason the binding looks so much brighter on the back, even though I took the pictures in the exact same spot right after each other.

In my effort to use up craft supplies that have just been sitting around, I busted out my rusty crochet skills and also made this dish cloth since I thought I recalled that she liked ones like this. The colors are somewhat complimentary to the birds.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Lightning Bolt Block Pattern

I've received a couple requests for the pattern I used to create the lightning bolt blocks in my Pink Stars quilt. Since I paper pieced the block, the pattern got destroyed in the process, but I was able to recreate it:

How I designed it:
I started by drawing a rectangle roughly the size I wanted the block to be and drawing my lightning bolt within. Then I sketched it out to fill the rectangle in a way that I could divide up for sewing.

How to sew it:
The block is comprised of three sections (top, middle, bottom), and each section has 3 pieces (2 dark, one light). Cut the pattern apart on the two diagonal lines, separating the top, middle, and bottom sections. Using the paper as your base, sew each section, making sure to leave a 1/4 inch seam allowance on the top and bottom of each section. Then sew the sections together and remove the paper.

If you've never paper pieced, SewHooked has a lot of paper piecing resources. I use magazine pages as my base because they tear away so easily. For larger blocks, I use parchment paper. Alternately, you can cut all the pieces apart and use them to cut out the appropriate shapes.

Either way, you will end up with a lovely lightning bolt block:

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Piggly Wiggly Bag

I love reusable shopping bags. On my trip to North Carolina and DC this summer, I added 5 new ones to my collection, each particularly special because I couldn't get them at home, but the red Piggly Wiggly quickly became my favorite. I didn't shop at Piggly Wiggly when I lived in NC because there wasn't one by my house. (I looked for a bag at Food Lion but they didn't have them. I did get a Tar Heel one from Harris Teeter.) We made a special stop at Piggly Wiggly just because I thought they might have amusing bags. They did. I was not a fan of the "Piggly" side, but I loved the "Wiggly" side.

And then it got ripped by a cashier at Target:

Horrors! I've never had a bag rip before, and I was mad at myself because I had been particularly careful to only use this one for non-grocery shopping trips so it would stay in better shape, and I had forgotten when I handed over my bags on this trip. I was horrified and traumatized. Once I calmed down, it occurred to me to recycle the "Wiggly" part since I'm not that fond of the "Piggly" side anyway. Fortunately I was able to stop by Michael's while traveling for work, and they again had the orange and black reusable Halloween bags I used to make my Clemson bag last year. It was a bit tricky to sew on a bag that was already assembled, but now I have a lovely "Wiggly" bag again.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Quilt Binding Tutorial

Back in August, I had a question about how I bind my quilts. Since I had a quilt in progress, I decided to demonstrate my process.

You will need: Quilt top and backing, batting, pins

Preparation: For this method, your quilt backing needs to be larger than the quilt top. I make mine about 4" larger, so for a quilt top that is 36" wide by 44" inches long, your backing would need to be 40" x 48", so you have at least 2" on every side.

Step 1: Lay the fabric you will use to back the quilt right side down on the ground.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Fabric in My Mailbox

Amanda sent me some fabric she didn't think she'd use. I'm not sure what I'll use it for yet either, but it's always good to have options! Recognize the middle red one? She used in one of my Christmas ornaments last year.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Orange Crazy Nine Patch

Well, at long last, the orange crazy nine patch is complete! I started two sets of these blocks in January of 2010. I finished the blue crazy nine patch in December of 2010. This will be only my third completed quilt for 2011...quite a drop-off from the last two years.

I like how the quilting turned out, except that the smaller blocks are obviously more heavily quilted. I really liked the way the quilting looked on the larger blocks, and I struggled to find a cohesive pattern for the smaller blocks. I didn't want to do any more quilting on the larger blocks.

It is off to live with Tyco and Cleo!

Finished size: 39" x 51"

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Work in Progress

The only sewing I've been doing over the last two months is in an effort to get stuff out of my house. This project has been sitting in a box in closet for years and I decided it's time to do something with it. There was no way I was ripping out stitches to recycle the fabric as I've done with other projects, so I finished up the blocks and now I have 80 badly pieced blocks that are far from square to deal with. I'm not taking the time to square them up as that won't really help the design. I started this quilt in 2001, before I had a rotary cutter, and the design suffered for the lack of precisely cut shapes. I loved the fabric when I bought it; not so much anymore.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Cleo's #1

My sister won a pitching contest at a bar at a ballpark. She was extremely pleased. Her prize was a bucket of beers, so I decided to make a first place baseball ribbon to commemorate this achievement. Cleo took a liking to the ribbon.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

August Birthdays

I made these cards for my August birthdays, my dad and Zack's grandpa.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


Amanda and Chris sent me a package which included these adorable little crocheted bookworms they made:

The first is a "Rowdy Librarian" themed bookworm and the second a winter-themed bookworm. The librarian bookworm has a tiny checkout card for a book called "Tales of a Rowdy Librarian." I will be taking the librarian bookworm to work of course.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Art Inspiration on Vacation

I didn't do any crafting while on vacation (though I did help my sister-in-law build shelves for her closet; that was a new experience) but I did see some beautiful art while in DC.

This was at the World War II Memorial:

This is a floor at the Library of Congress:

The Jefferson Building is just amazing. 

I had to take a picture of this painting since it's on the LOC Authorities site:

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Quilter's Corner

While visiting North Carolina, I spent a few days with Amanda, famous here for her awesome Christmas ornaments. She and Chris welcomed me to their guest room with this personalized chalk board.

They attached the loopy side of Velcro around the edge so they can customize the board to the guest.

They also had a nifty sewing table in the room, and I just had to take a picture since I have a Singer as well, but the table is not this cool.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Map Bunting

I keep seeing bunting tutorials all over the place. It seems a bit excessive for something so simple, and I never thought I'd have a use for bunting. However, there is a lot of empty wall space in my office and it occurred to me that bunting would be a good space filler. Most tutorials are for fabric bunting, but I decided that I didn't want to bother with fabric for work. So I pulled out my Mod Podge and my abundant stack of maps, raided the recycling bin for cereal boxes, and got to work.

I needed to cover a 10' wall so it's too long to get a picture of the whole thing. I used 5 flags for every 2'.

I put buttons on the ends:

My favorite:

I'm glad Traverse City didn't end up upside down. You can even see Glen Arbor and Leelanau! The eyelet covered up the Homestead. However, the eyelets make a huge difference. They look so much more polished.

Each flag is 3" across the top and 3.75" high. I got 12 flags from the front and back of each cereal box. I used maps of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Virginia, but I didn't need that many so Virginia got dropped because it did not quite match the other two. Since I Mod Podged the maps and then cut the flags apart to save time instead of doing them individually, some of the maps ended up upside down, but the writing is pretty small on most of them so you can't really tell from a distance.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Clothes Pin Quilt Hangers

I decided all my mini quilts needed clothes pin quilt hangers. I used smaller 2" clothes pins for the mini quilts. No gluing required for the smaller versions; you can just clip a 1/8" dowel in the upper hole of the clothes pin.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Pretty Paper Balls

I saw this polyhedron tutorial and thought these would be another ideal decoration for my office. The balls are connected by embroidery floss and will hang from the light fixtures in my office. The larger one is made from 3" circles and is approximately 5.5" in diameter. The smaller one is made from 2" circles and about 3.5" in diameter. I used 2 sheets of 12"x12" scrapbook paper and connected them with mounting squares. Cutting out circles is tedious, but they didn't take very long to put together. I absolutely love this paper! However, the tutorial does say to use lightweight cardboard. I probably should have at least used card stock, but that wouldn't have been nearly as pretty. I do hope they don't fall apart.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Sprucing Up My Machine



My machine is old. The foam on either side of thread holder was disintegrating. I decided to replace it with green felt so it would look nicer and stop shedding.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Flag Cards

These are the cards I made for the grandparents for the Fourth of July. Happy 4th!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Money Magnets

Now if they would only actually attract money! I have a couple handfuls of foreign coins from countries I have never visited. They have been sitting in my jewelry box, and now they are spread out on my dresser as I brainstorm and solicit ideas for what to do with them. My sister suggested magnets, which is a great idea since I love magnets and some of the coins are already magnetic. However, I already have far too many magnets so I still have a lot of coins to repurpose.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Mini Rainbow

It's so cute and tiny! These are scraps from my radial rainbow mini quilt. I was going to use them for the back of the quilt, but when I came up with a better idea, I still wanted to use them.

Finished size: 8" x 3"

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Tiny Crazy Nine Patch Blocks

I finally brainstormed an idea for turning my orange crazy nine patch blocks into a quilt top. I made 18 3.5" blocks which will be used for the top and on the back.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Cozy Kitty Quilt

Julie sent me some new pictures of Tyco and Cleo enjoying the quilt I made for her:

Cleo is quite comfy.

ETA - Tyco did not agree with the decision to put the quilt away:

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Butterfly Wall Art

Another decoration for my office. I decided I needed something more colorful to complement the owls. This one also has a bit of sparkle. I added some gold glitter glue to coordinate with the butterfly. It's only 9.5" square, so I still have quite a bit of wall space to fill.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Camera Case

I decided I wanted a less bulky camera case for my travels this summer. Since it's for traveling, I thought this airplane fabric was appropriate, and colorful! This is the first padded pouch I've made. Each side has two layers of cotton batting, so it was a bit difficult to turn, but it should cushion the camera nicely.

It's considerably slimmer than the other case:

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Radial Rainbow Mini Quilt

I got the image for this quilt in my head while working on rainbow mini quilts #1 and #2.

I am amazed at how well it turned out. I was very afraid the intersections wouldn't line up at all. It turned out exactly like I imagined it:

It wasn't until after I had finished it that it occurred to me to add some color to the corners, but by then I was nearly out of these scraps anyway. I considered cutting it into an octagon instead of a square but decided not to.

I finished the front but then could not decide what to do on the back that would be suitably match the front. Three weeks later, the solution popped into my head:

I would have liked a nice scrappy and colorful border, but I used up the very last of the purple on the back. The purple square is actually pieced from a longer, narrower scrap.That's the risk of working with scraps.

It was so pretty I just had to take some in progress pictures:

How I assembled it:

Ta da!

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