Monday, November 13, 2017

Time to Play!

Now that I'm done with Halloween costumes, I've had a chance to breath.  The best part is, I have no projects that HAVE to be done...well I do have a baby quilt I need to get started, but they don't know I'm making it so I'm not in a huge hurry.

Earlier in the week I decided my almost 2 year old grandson needed a placemat.  He's such a messy eater, aren't they all at that age?  The problem I had is even with a regular placemat he would still get the area between him and the placemat dirty.  For some reason I could never keep the placemat at the edge of the table.

So I decided he needed a placemat with a little flap that went over the edge of the table.  I made my own design and made it smaller than the typical placemat.  His bowls and plates are smaller than adults and the big ones just looked way to big for him.

Right now he's in love with Mickey Mouse so I found some cute fabric at Walmart.  This was an experiment so I figured cheap fabric was the way to go.  But I've said it before, I'm sometimes pleasantly surprised that I find better quality fabric than I expect at Walmart.  Now, I haven't washed it yet, so we'll see how it holds up.

I bought a yard of each Mickey fabric and two yards of the black polk a dot fabric.  I plan to make different designs just to practice making placemats.  This was my first placemat and I was surprised how quick and easy it was, without a pattern no less!

I was surprised how easy it was to come up with my own pattern.  The little flap worked exactly how I envisioned it would.  It's definitely sparked something in me to branch out and not just follow patterns like I typically do.

You will notice it is already dirty in the above picture.  I couldn't wait for him to try it out and forgot to take a picture before he used it! From the looks of it, I need to get busy making placemats, we'll probably need a clean one for every meal!  Let's see that's three a day for seven days...hmmm 21 placemats??? 

I've told myself for years that I'm not creative, I just like making things.  Maybe, just maybe there is a little creativity in me!  So I've set a goal.  Before the end of the year, I'll design another pattern.  I'm not sure what that will be yet, but I have a few ideas swirling around in my head.

Have you made your own design?  What was your process?

Happy Sewing!


Friday, November 3, 2017

I survived Halloween!

When my children were younger, I made all their Halloween costumes.  I haven't done that for several years, but now that I have grandkids, I've started back up again.   Last year I made a Little Mermaid costume for my daughter.  She found a crab costume for her son (his name is Sebastian) , she has red hair so she thought it was the perfect costume!

This year she wanted to do characters from the movie Frozen.    Sebastian was Olaf, Abby was Anna, my daughter Paige was Sven and my granddaughter was Elsa.  We really had to do some talking to get Paige to go along.  She's not really in to dressing up, so her costume had to be very simple.

I started with Olaf.  I found a pattern on the internet, but I'm not going to add the link because I was not at all impressed with the directions.  I think someone that did not have any experience with sewing would have a very difficult time. Fortunately it was a free pattern and  I was able to figure it out.

The pattern said to add a zipper but I simply put on a kam snap.  The edges were unfinished which is fine since it's made out of fleece and won't ravel.

Next up was Elsa. I neglected to take any pictures of the process. It went together fairly easily.  I think the biggest problem was trying to find fabric.  I searched online and every local fabric store, but couldn't find what I was looking for.  I finally found the fabric at Walmart.  I used  Simplicity pattern 1233  I do buy all my patterns either at Joann's or Hobby Lobby when they are on sale.  Sometimes I also find them at Walmart. I found this pattern ran true to size.

I saved Anna for last, not sure why since it was the most difficult of the three. I used Simplicity pattern 1215.   I have an interesting story about the sizing on this pattern. Last year when I made the mermaid costume, it ran true to size and I had no problems.  This year for some reason I decided to check the size on Abby when I was cutting out the tissue.  Of course I didn't think to check BEFORE I cut the whole pattern out (just the tissue, not the fabric).  I put the waist band around her and found it was way too small.  I thought maybe it was the tissue, so I cut some scrap fabric and tried again and still too small.  So I pondered for a few days, then saw this video by the Crafty Gemini, in it Vanessa talks pattern sizing. She said if a person usually wears a 6, in patterns they may be a 14.  Oh boy was she right!  I measured Abby who is usually a size 4 and according to the pattern, she's a size 14!  I had to go buy a new pattern and start all over.  The good thing is once I got the correct size, it fit her well.

 The whole family even got involved and helped.  Even my 27 year old son!

I don't have a light box so I used my french doors.  At some point there wasn't enough light so my husband shone a flash light while my son traced the pattern onto Heat n Bond.

This is what we had to trace, except that is just a small portion.  There are 10 panels that have applique the length of the skirt, plus what goes on the top.  Needless to say, there were lots of appliqueing to be done.

I learned how to insert boning.  It was definitely a  learning experience.  The bodice came together fairly quickly.  The skirt was another story.  I have to mention here that I was running short on time.  I had known about the costumes for over two months, but hadn't had my weekends to work on them due to other circumstances.  By last Friday I everything pretty much done except for the skirt.  I worked on the skirt all weekend and still was no where near done...there is A LOT of applique!.  I had Monday afternoon and all Tuesday off work so I figured I would have plenty of time.

If it wasn't for my youngest daughter (who wasn't even getting to join in on the Halloween fun because of work) helping, I wouldn't have finished in time.   We didn't even stop to take photos!

Aren't they adorable?!!!

Sven was easy, well sort of.  I guess brown is not "in"this year because I had an awful time trying to find a brown sweater.  Finally at a second hand store I found a brown North Face jacket.  I got the brown jeggings and antlers at Walmart and the scarf and boots at Target. Paige was happy because she wanted brown boots and I figured since I worked so hard on the other costumes, she deserved the boots:)

Do you sew for Halloween?

Happy Sewing,


Sunday, October 1, 2017

Applique-my first attempt!

I don't know about you, but I love looking at Pinterest.  I drool over all the beautiful quilts I see.  I seem to go in phases.  One week I love looking at jelly roll quilts.  The next week it's quilts for the men in my life, then I'm on to baby quilts, purple quilts, vintage or modern quilts.

 Right now I'm fascinated by applique quilts. I just love the look of applique on a quilt.  It can take a boring quilt and make it shine.  One that caught my eye was a simple jelly roll quilt with a name appliqued on. 

I haven't had a reason to make one until recently when my DD mentioned a friend of hers was expecting a baby boy.  I think I've only met her friend Sarah once or twice, but hey, why not make a quilt for her precious baby boy!

Sarah told my DD they were going to do the nursery in yellow and gray.  Since DD is in Chiropractic school, she's broke so we headed to Walmart to see if we could find fabric.  I was pleasantly surprised by what we found.  Their Waverly brand actually seems to be good fabric.  This is what we picked.

The darker gray with white polka dots is going to be the backing and the stripes at the bottom are going to be the binding.

Now, I've never appliqued before but I wasn't going to let that stop me. It couldn't be that hard, could it?  We decided to put his name, Ollie on one of the larger strips.

We found a simple font and cut out the fabric on my Cameo machine.  It was surprisingly easy, it worked on the first try! I had researched and knew to use heat n bond lite.  I got it on the quilt and his name looked great!

Now came the part I wasn't so sure about...actually sewing around the letters.  I can honestly say I learned a lot in the process.  It's not perfect and if you look close you can see all my mistakes.  But...what's the saying?  From a galloping horse it looks great!

After appliqueing his name.  I realized I had a lot to learn about applique.  As luck would have it,Prairiepoint Quilt and Fabric Shop,a quilt shop near me was having a class on applique.  I was lucky enough to get one of the last spots available.  I wish I had taken the class before I did the quilt but I feel much more confident for the next time I attempt applique. 

The two most important things I learned from the class were:  1.  Use tear away stabilizer behind the applique and 2.  Have an open toe applique foot for your machine.    I didn't have the special foot when I did the quilt and it was very hard to see what I was doing, especially around the curves and corners.  I ordered one online and it was amazing how much it helped.

I quilted it with my walking foot and did wavy lines.  I learned this technique from Jacquie Gering at Craftsy.  I first talked about her class here.  I honestly think this is the best class I've taken from Craftsy.  I learned so much from Jacquie and frequently refer back to the class.

One thing Jacquie really emphasizes is using tape for registration lines so you don't veer to the left or right. 

I tend to just plow ahead and hope for the best, but this time I took my time to measure, use my painters tape like Jacquie shows and I think my quilting it starting to look much better.

Another first for me on this quilt is using striped binding.  I was a little nervous, what if I didn't cut it straight?  What if it look crooked on the quilt?  But, I discovered I love striped binding.  I love the way it frames the quilt. I will definitely use it again.

Here's the finished quilt:

What's a new technique you were nervous or scared to try?  I'd love to hear from you.

Happy Sewing,


Sunday, September 17, 2017

Farm Girl Vintage

I love the Farm Girl Vintage Book by Lori Holt

I love this book!  She has done an amazing job of writing out the instructions, the diagrams are clear and easy to understand.

 I joined a block of the week club back in January of this year. We could choose to do either the 6 inch or 12 inch block.  Some really ambitious people are doing both!   I chose the 12 inch block, mainly because those small pieces in the 6 inch block really intimidated me.

Since it is now the second week of September I should have approximately 37 blocks done....I have completed 5 .  I knew when I joined I probably wouldn't be able to keep up, but I thought it wouldn't hurt to try.  Plus, I didn't think I would get this far behind!  I'm really kind of embarrassed sharing this.

I have enjoyed the few blocks I've gotten done.  I've learned a lot too, for instance I now understand what a scant 1/4 in seam is!

The fabric I chose is Aunt Grace by Judie Rothermel for Marcus Fabrics.  I got it at my local quilt shop Stitch On.

The first block I did was Apron Strings.  I figure it looked simple enough. And it was easy enough and it even came out the right size!

The second one I made was the Pinwheels block. This one wasn't too difficult.  I had made pinwheels before and they weren't horrible.  Don't look too closely at my points!

For my third one I chose the Corn and Tomatoes Block.  I figured it was sort of pinwheels again, I could handle that.

Next came the Baby Chick Block.  Technically, I don't have five blocks completed because this poor guy doesn't have legs or an eye yet.

 The last one I've completed is the Sunny Sunflower Block.  For some reason this one gave me the most trouble.  Maybe that's why I've come to a standstill.  Or maybe it's because I work 10 hour days, watch my grandson on days off and have about a gazillion other projects in the works!

I know this will be a long term project.  I need to set aside a little time at least once a month to work on it.

But, Halloween costumes are going to consume most of the next month and a half.  I'm making three costumes and I'm way out of my comfort zone on these.  I'm using different fabrics and techniques than I've ever used.  I can't wait to show them to you!

Happy Sewing,


Sunday, September 10, 2017

Wacky Web Quilt

When I first starting quilting, I starting following Jenny Doan and Missouri Star Quilt Company.  I faithfully watched her videos and thought I needed to make every single one.  One of the first videos I watched was the Periwinkle Quilt so I ordered the template, the papers and some fabric.  At that point I had no idea about fabric designers or fabric manufacturers.  I just picked something I liked, probably a daily deal.  I went to my local Hancock's (they went out of business a couple years ago) and looked for white fabric to go with what I'd purchased from Missouri Star.

Again, I must remind you, I had no idea what I was doing.  I looked at all the white fabric and found some that was cheaper than the others.  Turns out it wasn't 100% cotton, but that's okay, right??  So I bought it and went home and started on the Periwinkle quilt.  Somewhere along the way, I realized that I probably shouldn't have mixed cotton and whatever the white fabric was, so I put it away.

It sat in a drawer for awhile until I realized I needed a quick baby quilt.  I pulled it out and thought "why not?"  I had all the triangle pieces sewn together, I just needed to trim and put them together.

This is the way Jenny put them together in her tutorial:

Notice the white?  You can tell it's not 100% cotton.

 My sweet hubby isn't into quilting but he loves helping with designs and placement.  He suggested I try something different.  This is the design we decided on.  Notice the double wedding ring quilt underneath?  My husbands grandmother and great aunt made it.

I quilted it with the walking foot and did wavy lines. You will notice the binding isn't finished.  I finished sewing the binding on the drive to the baby shower!  Boy was I cutting it close, thank goodness it was a two hour drive.  We got it folded, wrapped in tissue paper and stuffed in a gift bag as we drove up.

More close up pictures:

 My points actually match up pretty well!

 The back is a plain pink.

Because I cut it so close, I didn't have a chance to wash it before I gifted it.  I sincerely hope when the new mom washes it there won't be uneven shrinkage because of the different fabrics.   I do have plenty of blocks left over so I need to make another small quilt and wash it myself to see how it holds up.

Now I know to buy quilters cotton and I try to buy from a quilt shop whenever I can. I feel like there is always something to learn with quilting/sewing.  My next projects are another baby quilt (my first time trying applique), burp cloths, changing pads, and then on to Halloween costumes.  I'm going to be busy the next few months!

Happy sewing,


Sunday, July 2, 2017

Branching out-Cameo machine

I love crafts of all kinds.  For years the only sewing I was able to do was once a year for Halloween costumes for our four children.  Back then I did a lot of scrapbooking and had all the tools for that.  I have an old Sizzix machine that we made all sorts of letters and designs.  But the problem with that was you couldn't change the sizes and were limited to what Sizzix offered. Plus you had to constantly buy new dies.  So over the course of the years, it got relegated to the basement and never used.

Then I discovered the Cameo machine!  Oh my, what a cool idea.  I asked for one for Christmas and the kids went together and got one for me.  They even got different kinds of vinyl and accessories to go with it.  I think the possibilities are endless for this machine.  You can paper craft, anything from scrapbooking to card making to 3D designs.  Then there are all the vinyl options, heat transfer, semi permanent, permanent, printed, glitter and more I'm sure I'm forgetting.  You can put vinyl on virtually anything. The best part of this machine is you can make your own designs and make them the size you need.

The first thing I did was search for information about my new machine.  I found Silhouette School Blog right off and it's been so helpful in teaching me all about my machine.

Of course one of my first projects was to decorate my new machine:

I love cats (I have two, Maine Coon/Ragdoll mixes) and I love the vinyl I found.

I was surprised by the different types of vinyl for different projects.  On the one above I used what's called 631 vinyl.  It's the same type of vinyl you find in stores for the sayings you put on walls.  It's non permanent but sticks really well until you are ready to remove it.

Another project I've done is a birthday shirt for my grandaughter:
This was the only picture I was able to snap before she claimed it.  It's not completed here, it still has the transfer tape on and isn't ironed on yet. It is made with glitter heat transfer.  I've made several shirts and to me the hardest part is getting the placement level.

Another thing to remember when using heat transfer vinyl, it has to be mirrored.  Fortunately, I've only ruined one design forgetting to mirror.  When I did that I decided I needed to make something to remind me to mirror my heat transfer:

 I put this on the inside lid of my Cameo.  Hopefully I will look at this before I hit the send/cut button!

Once again I'm awful about getting pictures.  I've made several t-shirts, decals for cars, wall sayings, put vinyl on cups, glasses and tubs.  I'll try to remember to get pictures on everything I make. 

I think sewing will always be my "first" love, but I do enjoy my Cameo.  It's amazing all the neat things I see people do with theirs.  I need to get more adventurous! 

Happy Sewing/Crafting,


Sunday, June 25, 2017

My first Bargello

One day while sitting on the sofa with my hubby, I was looking through Pinterest at all kinds of beautiful quilts.  Isn't is amazing what you can find on Pinterest?  He happened to glance over and see one of the quilts I was admiring(pic from Pinterest, not mine!):

Here is the link to her blogpost:  bargello

He immediately said that was the quilt he wanted!  A little about my sweet hubby.  He's an old hippie. He loves tie dye, has long hair and is very easy going.  He supports me totally in my sewing/quilting/crafting hobby.  Even though with all the sewing I have done, I've never made anything for him.

I was a little intimidated by the thought of a bargello, but after looking at the instructions, I decided I would try to tackle it.  I don't push myself out of my comfort zone often enough.  I purchased the jelly rolls through Missouri Star Quilt Company   It takes two jelly rolls.

I took them to a quilting retreat and knew I could ask some of the wonderful people there for help.  I got extremely lucky and another lady was working on a bargello too!  Her's was much more complicated than mine and she had made a bargello before.  She was a lifesaver!  She showed me how to cut and label everything so I didn't get the rows mixed up.

I managed to get the top almost finished at retreat and then had to finish up at home.  Fortunately hubby works shift work, so I was able to work on it when he was working or sleeping.  When it came time to quilt it, I was stumped.  I didn't want the quilting to stand out so I ended up by lots of different colors of thread and quilting diagonally across the rows of color.  Hope that makes sense.

I finished it up in time to give it to him for Christmas.  He had no idea and was shocked when he opened it!  I was the first thing I had actually made for him!

Since I'm notoriously bad at remembering to take pics, this is the only one I have of his quilt.  It's hanging on the quilt rack in our living room.  He loves to show it off when friends come over, but he rarely uses it.  I need to remind him that quilts are made to be used and loved.

To anyone who has been too scared/nervous to try a bargello, I recommend you try.  They really are much easier than they look.  I'll definitely make another someday.

Happy Sewing,


Monday, June 19, 2017

Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival-What fun!

I dragged my sister to the Quilt Festival this last weekend.  The festival lasted three days, from Thursday through Saturday.  We were only able to go on Saturday, that danged work thing gets in the way of all the fun!

I went with wonderful intentions of taking lots of photos.  I knew there would be beautiful quilts and lots of inspiration.  Of course as usual, I got caught up in the moment and rarely remembered to take pictures...even when I had my camera in my hand.  

Here are the four pictures I actually remembered to take:
There is something about those butterflies and the quilting I loved.

I thought this one was fun and whimsical!

Isn't this one gorgeous??

Now for the background on the quilt below:  The woman who made and quilted this one is Becky Collis, she owns   Collis County Quilting    I met Becky through my sister, Kim.  Kim found Becky on Facebook.  Turns out we went to high school together, of course they are "much" older than me!   Kim figured since she kind of knew her through high school, it must be safe to have Becky quilt her quilt tops. I think Becky has quilted three or four quilts for Kim and they all have turned out beautiful.   Anyway, Becky had a finished quilt for Kim and they decided to meet when we all went to the festival.    Becky mentioned she had two or three quilts in the show but neglected to mention she won 1st Place with this quilt!  I talked with Becky about fangirling all the famous quilters there and she admitted she did it too, but I should have been fangirling on her and I didn't even realize it!

I love this one!  My new friend Becky Collis made this, just look at her quilting.  It is AMAZING!

I spent a good part of my time testing out long arms.  My hope is to purchase one in three to five years, so of course I needed to test them out!  That is a whole other blog post.  I will say my top three at this time are APQS, Gammill and Innova.  I need to do a lot more research before I make any decisions.

There were so many vendors with massive amounts of fabric, patterns, and quilting supplies.  It was somewhat overwhelming.  I wish I could have taken two days to go.  The first day for just walking around and taking it all in and the second day for actually making purchases.  Maybe in two years (it's a biannual show) I'll take a vacation day.  If I do that, I can take a class or two also.

It was a great show and sounds like it was very successful, thanks to all the quilt guilds who joined together to plan and organize it.

Happy Sewing,


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Falling Charms

I recently had a wonderful opportunity to try out a long arm quilting machine!  Oh my I was soooooo excited.  I have a dear friend and her husband who have a long arm.  Don't ask me what kind, why I don't remember I don't know.  I think I was too excited about my finished quilt that I forgot to pay attention to important details.

Anyway, my friends Sandy and Al live about an hour away, with my busy schedule I don't get to visit them often.  One day I mentioned to Sandy that I had a quilt top I needed to quilt and she suggested I come up and Al could show me how to use their long arm.  I jumped at the chance.  We figured out a date that would work for all of us which was two weeks away.  I think I had a harder time waiting for that than I do for Christmas!  It worked out that sweet hubby was off work that day too so he was able to join us.

The quilt top I made was a falling charms pattern

The charm pack I used was Sweet Baby Girl Charm Pack by Doodlebug Designs for Riley Blake.  I think it's such a cute pattern for a little girl.  When I picked this out I didn't have anyone in mind, I just liked the fabric.

Al helped me pick out a quilting design and off we went.  He was so patient, taking the time to explain everything, sometimes several times until I understood. 

We picked this flower design, which goes perfectly with the backing fabric;

I chose the little frogs on the pink background for the binding.  I love how it looks like they are peeking over the quilt!

The finished quilt!

I had a hard time deciding what to do with this little quilt. It's the first quilt I quilted on a long arm, so it's special.  I thought about saving it until we have another granddaughter, but who knows how long that will be!  

I decided it's much better for the quilt to be loved, than to be stored in a box, so we gave it to the newborn baby daughter of one of my husband's coworkers.   They love it and were so touched that we gave them a gift from the heart.

I can't thank Sandy and Al enough for inviting us into their home and letting me play on their longarm.  I've decided a longarm is in my future, probably several years away though.  I'm starting to research them to see what I like.  As a matter of fact, the Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival is coming up later this week.  I'm planing on test driving several different longarms to see what I like.  I'll try to remember to take pics and report back.

Happy Sewing,


Sunday, June 11, 2017

Hooded towels

I'm very late with this seems I have wonderful intentions and then get sidetracked by life.

Every year for Easter I make baskets for my two grandbabies.  I try to be good and fill them with things they will use/need.  I may sneak a little candy in but for the most part I'm pretty good about following my rule.

I love my embroidery machine and don't use it near often enough.  I think my problem lies in the fact that I really only have one sewing machine and that's my Singer Quintet.  I know a lot of people somewhat look down on the Singer machines, but I love my machine.  Once I figured out all the little quirks, she and I fell in love.  Anyway, I use her (Barbara, after my mom) for all my sewing.  I do have an old Kemore, but it's been relegated to the basement.  There's nothing wrong with it, I just don't care for the way it sews.

 I do have a sweet vintage Singer given to me by a wonderful friend, but for some reason I'm intimated by it and haven't gained the nerve to take her for a test drive.  She sure looks pretty sitting there in my sewing area though!

Since I only have the one machine, it seems I'm always sewing instead of embroidering.  It's really not hard to switch back and forth, but it would be nice to be able to embroider on one machine while I sew on another.  So I really need to start saving for another machine.  I've been watching our local buy sell trade Facebook group, Craigslist and garage sales, but haven't seen anything exciting yet.

Wow, it's amazing how quickly I get sidetracked!  Back to the Easter baskets and embroidery.  Every year I make hooded towels to put in the Easter baskets.  My favorite place to get the designs for hooded towels is  Her designs sew out beautifully.  My problem is always picking out which ones to make!   They are really addicting once you get started and get the hang of them.  Just how many hooded towels does a 3 year old need?

If you have never machine embroidered before it can be intimidating at first, but if you take the time to follow the instructions and go slowly with trimming it's fairly easy.

I won't go into too much detail, it's a process and has quite a few steps.  That's a tutorial for another day.  The picture above shows trimming around the applique.  This part is probably the most stressful for me. Sometimes there are tiny areas that need to be trimmed.

Almost done!  Sewing the final satin stitch around the seahorse!

See the stitching along the right side?  That's where I need to cut and stuff a wash cloth in to make her fins.

All done!

I'm not the greatest at taking pictures of the process or of taking pics of my finished pieces either!  But here are the others I made this year for the kids:

See the little blue line between his tusks?  That's one of the  marks I make to line up the towel on the hoop.  It will disappear with a little water.

I love this little monkey!  After making him I think I should have gotten a different color wash cloth for the ears though.

I actually made two monsters, but forgot to get a picture of the other one.  The other one is blue with orange ears.  My granddaughter wasn't sure she liked him.  I think he scared her a little :(

Here are a few more I've made in the past:

I enjoy making these for my grandkids and they seem to love them too. 

 Of course I forgot to get a picture of the finished baskets!  I really need to learn to keep my camera with me all the time!

Happy Sewing!