Sunday, December 27, 2009

Days after Christmas

Although Christmas is over, the spirit is still alive here. I received a lot of fun and useful gifts. My daughter's gave me a beautiful tea pot (I am a heavy tea drinker) and an Arshile Gorky art book (which I am looking forward to reading/looking through). My husband gave me tools (so I won't borrow his). The last time I used his pliers for a craft project, I broke one of the tips. I felt really bad, but what could I do? I had to finish my project. Now I have my own tools to break. I also got the Accuquilt Go cutter which I can't wait to use. It looks really easy to use and I have read all the instructions (1/2 a page). I wish all directions were that short.

Enjoy the next few days and have a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Happy Holidays

Not much going on around here. Just getting ready for the holidays. I thought I was doing well, but that was just an illusion. My husband just turned the big 50 and my daughter will be coming home from college soon. My other daughter has been accepted to the college of her choice. So hopefully it will be a bit happier around here this year.

I finished this carefree doll last night while I was watching television. She came out the way I wanted (which is not always the case). Her face is made from molding clay and painted and the body is made from wool felt and adorned with zippers and beads. I have yet to name her, but she will be next to my sewing machine when I sew.

Happy Holidays everyone.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas Block Swap

The firehouse quilters (this is what I call us since we meet about once a month in a firehouse) did a swap in October. I finally finished putting it together. I added a few blocks here and there and am planning on quilting around the blocks 1/4" away from the seams. I may also quilt around the objects in the blocks (angel, mittens, stocking, etc...). I hope to have it done by Christmas, but who knows.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Armenian Alphabet Quilt

There is a very funny story regarding this quilt. I had made all the rail fence blocks using the colors of the Armenian flag (red, orange, and blue) for a relative for Christmas 2008. My daughter walked into the room just as I was viewing the finished quilt top. She took one look at it and said, "That is ugly as sin." Needless to say, I set this quilt top aside and started on an entirely different quilt. I made a log cabin quilt that my daughter said was much better. So this quilt top sat for months while I thought about what to do with it. I finally decided that I would applique the Armenian alphabet around the borders to make it more appealing. I had completed one side of the border when my daughter (the same one) walked in the room and said, "Wow that looks great, that's my quilt right?" ...And so it will be. I am giving it to her on her birthday.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Box in Box

I saw this quilt (when one just like it anyway) in Vermont a long time ago. I finished piecing it within a week or two. However, I wanted to hand quilt it which took me a long time. I took a picture of it before I wrapped it for Christmas. I wish the quilting would be more noticeable, but unfortunately the batiks I used are so colorful that they are hard to see. I quilted a variety of different size circles and have included a picture of one of the blocks. I also pieced the back.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Slice of Cake?

Anyone up for cake? It's great how in the crafting community we all share. I would never have made this pin cushion if it wasn't for the fact that I saw it in person. A friend had made it and I fell in love. So, of course, I made two. Although these are gifts, I thought it was okay to put the pictures up since the recipient will never guess they are made for her.
Then there were these two cuties that I could not resist. The little one on the right is so useful. I plan on using it when I bind my quilts, the pin cushion fits between your thumb and forefinger. The instructions for these were in Quilts and More Fall 2009 and Sew Simple Volume 11, respectively. I happen to love Sew Simple because there are so many small projects that you can do fairly quickly.
I am working on writing instructions for one of my handbags. Since I work all day sewing and writing instructions, I like to make small projects while I am watching television. They are a bit of a diversion. Both of the pin cushions were made while I was watching the Sunday football games. They are both completely done by hand.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Cupcake pin cushions

These are two cupcake pin cushions I made following the directions from Sew Pretty Christmas by Tilda. I am not sure if you have ever heard of Sew Pretty Homestyle, but I have made many things from that book. Every single pattern, except for one, was very easy to follow. The exception was the slippers. I followed the instructions and re-read them a few times. I even had a friend attempt to make them with me, but they ended up being too small. Perhaps the women outside of the US have smaller feet, who knows? Any way I loved the first book so much I purchased the second one when it came out. I have not made too many projects from the Christmas Homestyle, but I could not resist these cupcakes. I added a yo-you and button on top to make it a bit more decorative.

Embellishing my mini quilt

A while back I had posted pictures of my mini quilt auction wins. Last night while I was watching a little televsion, I added a few yo-yos and some ribbon to the peach mini quilt. I embroidered the stems. The hardest part was trying to hide all the loose threads and to keep any stitches from showing up on the back of the quilt. I really like the way it turned out.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Busy with the Holidays

I have been busy getting ready for Thanksgiving. Even if there is not a large crowd at my house, I still make the same amount of food. I don't know why I do this, perhaps because it makes me feel good. Everyone has that one dish that they expect on the table and I would rather have more than less. Then I try to use all the leftovers during the course of the next few days. Of course the desserts are never a problem :).

I have also been finishing up a few projects, but because they will be given as gifts, I will not post pictures until after the holidays. From the time my kids were little, all the gifts except for one was always from Santa. That one exception was a handmade gift from Mom and Dad. This tradition has brought me a lot of satisfaction, not to mention frustration at times, because I always try to make different things. Now after 20 years or so, I am not sure I can keep it up. I have made stuffed toys, handbags, dolls, bean-bag like chairs, pillows, quilts, and a 6' tall tee pee. I have loved every minute of it, especially the looks on my children's faces. I hope that they will always know and remember that I have made them with love.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Brownstone Quilt Show Mini Quilt Raffle

Okay so at the Brownstone Quilt Show this past week-end, there was a mini quilt raffle. There were over 150 mini quilts that were being raffled off. I, of course, bought a whole bunch of raffle tickets and I was lucky enough to win the two mini quilts and a fellow quilter had won the peach quilt which she gave to me :). I was thrilled, thank you Kim.

The peacock mini quilt is appliqued and quilted beautifully. I can't wait to hang it up in my sewing room. The mini quilt with the country colors was beautifully pieced and I desperately wanted to win this quilt because I do not normally work with these colors. I love it. This quilt will also be hung up in my sewing room. Pretty soon I will have the most beautiful sewing room. As for the peach mini quilt, I will either hang it up in my sewing room as is or embellish it with beads, ribbon, or embroidery. We shall see.

There were also a great many door prizes of which I won a Peters Flowers basket, fabric, and sewing box. Okay so the truth is that my daughter won the Peters Flowers basket and sewing basket, but she gave it to me:)

Back of "Go for the Green" Jacket

Here is the back of the jacket, I have used flying geese, log cabin block, and strips of fabric sewn together. The thing I liked most was the texture that was created by folding fabric, then sewing lines in different directions (picture on right). The bottom poplin was created by sewing a variety of different fabrics together.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Brownstone Quilt Show

So I was setting up to sell handbags at the Brownstone Guild's Quilt Show and noticed that the jacket I had entered took first place. I started to make this jacket at a class I took with Rachel Clark at Quilting by the Lake. I loved the class and her easy care free attitude. Rachel taught us a few techniques, but more importantly, on how to construct a jacket to fit us properly. The most important lesson I learned was to have a foundation to test your fabrics on. The back of this jacket is really nice, but I was not able to get behind it to take a picture.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

New strip bag

At our last firehouse quilting day when we swapped our Christmas blocks (check out Caryn's Blog to see the pictures of all the bloclks), I started to sew/quilt this handbag. Unfortunately, I am not the best photographer so these pictures do not do it justice. This is the front and back of the bag. It has an inside pocket which I find lacking in a lot of quilted bags and black wooden handles.
I have been busy arranging the Christmas Block Swap and hope to post pictures on my blog when I am done. I have also been busy getting ready for the Brownstone Quilt Show this coming weekend (November 6-7, 2009). If you are in the area, it is at the Northern Regional High School in Allendale.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Roses and a mishap

In our last silk painting class we learned a new technique which I was not too crazy about. The picture on top was my major mishap so I decided to just paint over it with the paints that were left on my tray. The teacher suggested that I go over it with gold paint which I did with swirls and lines. It turned out great considering what it had started out as. My last class is this week, not too sure what I will be making.

During the same class I was able to finish a silk painting of roses using the first technique I had learned (using Gutta).

New project I have been working on

Okay so I don't know what possessed me, but I bought a mold of faces and some clay and created a few faces. I painted them all different colors and decided to play with them. I had painted this one gold and decided to put it on wool felt. Then I embellished with beads, zippers, and buttons. This one will be framed and hung up, but the other faces I made are going to be put on art dolls.
On another note, yesterday I was sewing all day with friends. One of the women had done a Halloween swap and that prompted a suggestion for all of us to do a Christmas swap. We ended up with 9 participants. Each participant made the same block for swapping. The blocks included a stocking, snowman, present, tree, gingerbread man, candy cane, angel, snowflake (?), and mittens. The person who made the stocking engraved the participant's name on the stocking, which I thought was very clever. I love the blocks and will hopefully have a new quilt soon. I will post a picture of it when it is done.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Flower Tote

Okay so I have been busy sewing handbags because I love, love, love them. This is my latest tote with a flower pin that I have attached to the front. The inside is fully lined with a small inside pocket. I wasn't sure if I wanted a fabric handle, but I liked the way this plastic, black one looked.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Iris Silk Painting

This week we added a medium to the silk paints which prevented it from spreading all over the silk canvas. I chose to paint irises (one of my favorite flowers). I am hoping that it will be hung up in my daughter's dorm room. Three more classed to go.
On a different note, I have just completed a new handbag that I am in love with. I will take a picture of it and post it the first chance I get.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Second Silk Painting Project

I decided to draw a frog on a lily pad for my second silk painting project. I had fun trying to draw and painting this frog. The thing I enjoyed most was throwing salt on the blue silk paint (water) to create bursts of stars. Another technique was using rubbing alcohol to create movement in the paint. I can't wait to see what we will be learning in our next class.

Friday, October 2, 2009

A new routine

Nowadays, I get up every morning and turn on my computer. While it is booting up, I make my self a cup of tea and read all the blogs I follow. It seems that I cannot start the day with out doing it, so I guess I can cancel my newspaper subscription. After I have enough fun, I head into my studio and start sewing. I have so many ideas for new handbags and I can't wait to try them out.

I have started taking a silk printing class and the picture above is of my first project (abstract). The instructor said that we will be completing one project per week, so I will post pictures of my projects as I go. This project taught us how to stretch the silk, use Gutta, and see how the paint spreads with the Gutta lines. I would love to incorporate the techniques I learn into my handbags (and quilts).

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Victoria Wallet Instructions/Tutorial

As promised here are the instruction for the wallet I posted on September 23.

Victoria Wallet (4 ¼”h x 7 ¼”w, closed)
(10 ¼” h x 7 ¼”w, open)


½ yard of cotton fabric
¼ yard of interfacing (I used Pellon d├ęcor Bond® 809)
Snap fastener (or no sew hook and loop tape)
Matching thread
Evaporating pen or chalk marker (I prefer chalk markers)

*** All seams are ½” unless otherwise noted. ***


1. Cut 11 ¾” x 8 ½” from cotton fabric and interfacing for outside of wallet.
2. Cut 24” x 8 ½” from cotton fabric for inside of wallet.
3. Cut 8” x 8 ½” from cotton fabric for checkbook/extra pocket.


1. Iron interfacing to wrong side of outside of wallet. Make sure to iron out all wrinkles/puckers/bubbles on right side of outside of wallet.
2. Lay the inside of wallet on a flat surface to mark lines for folding. The folds will hold bills and credit cards.
3. Draw lines across the width of the inside of wallet 5 ¾” (line 1), 8 ⅜” (line 2), 10 ⅞” (line 3), 12 ⅝” (line 4), 14 ⅞” (line 5), and 16 ⅝” (line 6) down from top of inside of wallet. Measure and mark carefully, this step is very important. If done incorrectly, the bill and credit card holders may not fit.
4. Fold at line 1, right sides together, and iron to form a crease. When folding, always make sure that the sides of the inside of wallet are aligned with each other.

5. Unfold and fold at line 2, wrong sides together, and iron to form a crease.
6. Unfold and fold at line 3, right sides together, and iron to form a crease.
7. Unfold and fold at line 4, wrong sides together, and iron to form a crease.
8. Unfold and fold at line 5, right sides together, and iron to form a crease.
9. Unfold and fold at line 6, wrong sides together, and iron to form a crease.
10. Fold lines 3-6 according to creases. Pin in place.
11. Draw a center line 3 ½” long, starting at line 2. If done correctly, you will have marked a line 3 ½” long, 4 ¼” from sides.

12. Place a few credit cards in the folds to make sure they fit properly. Remove cards.
13. Sew two times over drawn line (4 ¼” from sides). This line divides credit card holders so that there are now 4 credit card holders.
14. Fold the remaining lines according to creases. Pin in place.
15. Baste ¼” from raw edges, making sure to catch folds. Basting will hold folds in place.
16. Fold checkbook/extra pocket in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, and iron. If done correctly, this pocket should now measure 4” x 8 ½”.
17. Lay checkbook/extra pocket on top of inside of wallet, so that the sides and bottom raw edges are aligned.
18. Pin and baste (¼” from edge) around sides and bottom to hold checkbook/extra pocket in place.

19. Iron to flatten.
20. Place outside of wallet and inside of wallet, right sides together.

21. Pin and sew around all 4 sides, leaving a 2” opening for turning.
22. Clip corners.

23. Turn right side out through opening. Slip stitch closed.
24. Iron both sides of wallet.
25. Topstitch around all four sides of wallet, 1/8” from edge.
26. This step is optional, but I highly recommend it. Draw a line 2 ¼” and 6 ½” down from top (wallet folds). Sew on top of these lines.

27. Center “male” fastener ½” – 1” down from top of wallet. Make sure that the decorative side of the “male” fastener is on the outside of wallet.

28. Attach fastener following manufacturer's instructions.
29. Center “female” fastener on outside of wallet, placing it where “male” fastener will meet the “female” fastener. Make sure that the decorative side of the “female” fastener is on the inside of wallet, under the checkbook/extra pocket.

30. Attach fastener following manufacturer's instructions.
31. Fold wallet and snap shut.

Enjoy! Please feel free to send questions/comments. I would love to hear from you.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Moda Bake Shop Mill House Inn Tote

Once a month a group of us meet to quilt together. One of my fellow quilters suggested that we try the Moda Bake Shop Mill House Inn Tote pattern (thank you Caryn). So this past Saturday, I completed the bag in reds/pinks. I made the strips on the top of bag a bit longer. I love handbags!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A bit under the weather

I have been comforting a cold for the past few days. However, I have still been able to hand sew (otherwise I would have gone crazy just watching television). I am proud to say that most of my unfinished projects (UFOs) are now done. I only have two more to go...

These are the pictures of the ones I have completed. I had made four blocks with wool and cotton fabrics. Although the blocks were all done, they were not sewn together or quilted. I decided to make a table runner out of the cotton blocks (picture 1) and a wall hanging (picture 2) out of the wool blocks. Then out of sheer boredom I hand drew a picture of a rose on a linen napkin and back stitched with pink/green floss (picture 3). I like the way it turned out, but I think I will try to use a split or some other stitch on the other napkins. Then I will think of what I could do with them (small pillow, pin cushion, etc.).

On another note, I have been working on a new wallet. I have not drafted instructions for them, but I will. They will be posted (for free) when I have completed them.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Butterfly Tablecloth

I have been collecting linens and handkerchiefs for a long time now. I thought that one day I would use them in a quilt. The other day, I took out 4 handkerchiefs and decided to make a table cloth for my card table. I folded the handkerchiefs to form the shape of the butterfly and stitched around the edges using a blanket stitch. Then I hand stitched each butterfly's antennae a bit different. I looked through my stash and found fabrics with a butterfly motif which I used for the border. I liked the way it turned out and now I have a nice summer table cloth.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Friendship Star Quilt and a Painted Box

After I finished my flower pin, I went back to quilting and finished this Friendship Star Quilt. I am realizing that it is way too hard for me to quilt really large quilts (my neck gets really tense),
so I was really glad this was the size of a lap quilt. This is another one of my unfinished projects that I can cross off my list, the list is finally dwindling down.

On another note, two years ago I received this box in a Christmas Gift swap. The box was neat, but did not go with my decor, so I decided to paint it black and gold. I also added 4 feet and a top nob, hope the wood glue holds everything in place. I am not sure it goes any better with my decor, but I am determined to find a place for it.