Sunday, December 11, 2011

Speed Crafting ~ Holiday Style

Seems like all crafting this time of year is speed crafting. Here's a couple of quickies I did this weekend.
A 20 minute pillow makeover.

I started with these old cushions.

Did a quick measurement (about 20") and ripped into some heavy weight muslin ~ so rip a piece about 20 x 40. (The key to this is no fussy measuring or cutting!) I did a muslin layer first to disguise the brown of the original pillow. Plus, my thought is, after the holidays are over, I'll rip out the seams on the snowflake fabric, and recover in something else.

Fold the muslin in half, seam up two sides and around the corner a few inches opposite the fold. Insert old cushions, and sew up. I did this right on my machine, using my zipper foot.

Another quick measurement on the focus fabric, rip again, and sew up like before. (The fabric is from Ikea, and ripped beautifully along the pattern. 50/50 blend, $3.99/yard, perfect for this project.)

Again, I stitched up the open side using my zipper foot.
20 minutes later, this!

Next, 5 minute dollar store crafts:

Two 5 x 7 frames from the dollar store. Some of my favorite Basic Grey holiday paper. Glittery Christmas trees, 2/$1 from the dollar store, glue sticked on top of the framed paper (so, right on top of the glass.)

One hour, two quick crafts. Love 'em!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Sew, whatcha been up to?

Sew, how ya been?

I've been slackardly of late, in the sewing department. Thanksgiving ran right into Kyle's birthday,then into flood renovations (almost done! Two weeks worth of painters and flooring guys and carpenters. The last piece of the puzzle is carpet, which should happen in a week or so!) Oh, and just for fun, I threw in a colonoscopy (I even have pictures! No, I won't post them. Let's just say they....nope, can't even go there.) Later today, my MIL and SIL arrive to celebrate my MIL's 80th birthday. Tomorrow, we're throwing a surprise birthday brunch here, when the rest of the family, about 16 or so, will arrive. Sunday is the Baltimore Modern Quilt Guild's meeting/holiday party, where we'll be exchanging bee blocks and ornaments. And you know those guild gals are going to bring some great food, too. It's been an interesting and busy few weeks, but I'm ready to get the house back to myself for a few days, before the next wave comes.

I do have a few things to show you, though.

These are the bee blocks I did for the gals in the BMQG bee:

Some giant pinwheels, with a bit of strip piecing.

Back in November, when I was hanging out with my MIL, she asked for a table topper for her kitchen. Although it's not meant to be Christmasy (she asked for green and red) it kinda is. Of course, she's Jewish, so maybe she won't notice.

After making this, I had a bunch of strips left over from a moda scrap pack. I paired it with a bunch of leftover green strips. I needed a day of mindless sewing, and came up with this:

Not really sure where this is going. Lap quilt? Cut it up into something else? Scrap it? I also don't know if I'm digging the lighter green bits yet, or if they're a quirky detail. It measures about 50x50 right now. I'm going to set it aside and revisit next week. If you have any brilliant ideas, please share!

Last, this top:

This one, I'm loving! A few years ago, I went to a garage sale and picked up a box of shirting samples (the woman who sold them, her husband was a salesman.) Anyway, I paid $3 for the box. Turned out to be about 20 yards of shirting, all in approximately 8"x20" pieces. Well, they sat in that box for quite a while. Fast forward to about 3 weeks ago. I met up with the gals from the DC Modern Quilt Guild, who were meeting at Capital Quilts. The big draw for me (besides meeting with Kate and all the other gals) was that they had an accuquilt die cut machine. So I hauled out my shirts and they cut out all these drunkard path pieces for me. They went together so easily! I never would have attempted cutting these out on my own. The curves weren't scary at all. Isn't it a sweet baby boy quilt? I picked up some light blue pinstripe flannel for the back, so it will be super cozy. Now I just need a baby boy to come along! And my box of shirting? Barely put a dent in it. Get ready to see a lot more shirt quilts in 2012!

So, that's what I've been up to. I still have a few gifts to sew up, but nothing too major. How's your holiday sewing coming along?

Monday, November 21, 2011

NYC Quilt

Back in March, I went to New York with some guild friends to see the Red and White Quilt Exhibit As wonderful as the exhibit was, the shopping was equally as exciting. While at City Quilter, I picked up a NYC charm pack and a couple of fqs with city stuff. With few quilting obligations last week, I finished this mini.

Katie came home from school on Thursday, saw it, and called dibs. It's hanging over her dresser now.

Friday, November 18, 2011


Yes. I cheat.

I've blogged a few times about the South East Early Head Start Program (SEEHS) here in downtown Baltimore. (here, here, and here) One of our guild's projects is to make cloth books for the babies. Some of the gals from the Baltimore MQG have made wonderful, creative, thoughtful books, filled with beautiful fabrics, bits of embroidery and creative I Spy blocks. Me? Nothing. Not that I don't want to. I really do. Timing just isn't working right now. Then last week I popped into the J and found cloth book cheater panels, on clearance ~ and clearance was 50% off! I took it as a sign, bought the three panels left on the bolt, and tried to assuage my guilt.

They're cute, right? Please tell me they're cute. And the babies won't mind that their books don't have any Amy Butler or Anna Marie Horner. Right?

Monday, November 14, 2011

got Holiday Cards?

Instead of the usual post Thanksgiving panic, I've already chosen a Holiday Card for this year. I usually alternate one year photo, one year non photo. This year is non photo. I've chosen this one from Tiny Prints.

I'm not going to lie, I chose this one with my crafty friends in mind! The card stock is wonderfully thick and textured (think of a nice, thick Bazzill card stock). It is perfect for re purposing (or maybe tucking into a nice frame!) For my quilty friends, couldn't you just see this as a mini quilt? Those birds are a.dor.a.ble! It may even get me to applique! If you're a photo card only type, they do a wonderful job with those, too! I just spent the week at my MILs and she still has her mother's day card with the kid's photos prominently displayed!

What are you sending this year? If you're not on my list and would like me to send you one, email me you addy. (Of course, you'll have to send me one too!)

Charlie's Quilt

Charlie was the first person to befriend us when we moved to Baltimore.

Charlie is our designated cat sitter.

Charlie is our contractor, who is fixing our water damage.

Charlie is our friend.

Charlie has cancer.

When someone you care about is sick, you ask the question, what can I do? Over the years, I've learned to go with what I know. I can cook. I can quilt. Charlie gets a quilt.

This is Charlie's quilt. Charlie is a fan of vintage cares, among other things. I found a vintage car panel a few weeks ago when I went shopping with Kathleen. This was the starting point. The rest? Well, I knew it needed to be quick (I started Saturday afternoon, and just threw it in the wash. Charlie starts chemo tomorrow.) I also needed to use my stash. I did purchase the red Kona. (How could I not have any red Kona?) Big 15" log cabinish blocks for the rest. The quilt measures about 45 x 60. Hopefully just the right size to keep him warm during treatment. The backing is this print from Michael Miller (also from our shopping spree.) Charlie is a musician as well.

Big loopy fmq in invisible thread, machine stitched binding, and it's finished. In a few minutes it will be tossed in the dryer, then I'll walk it down to Charlie's house. Please keep Charlie in your prayers.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Baby Hat Tutorial

These are super simple. You can easily whip up a dozen in an hour or so!

From a yard of fleece fabric, you can make 6 baby/toddler hats. If you want to make bigger hats, get 1 1/4 to 1 1/3 yards to make four teen/adult hats.

Your fleece should be approximately 60" wide. It will be stretchy between the two selvages. Keep that in mind, which way it stretches. We want the stretchy part to go around the circumference of our heads!

Here are directions for baby hats and heads. (I googled baby head circumference. 18"-20" is average for a baby head. For adult heads, measure your own and size up as needed!)

Trim off the selvage edges. Cut the fleece into two pieces, 60" x 18". Cut each 60" long piece into 3 pieces, about 19" wide. You should now have 6 pieces, 19" x 18".

Fold each piece in half, right sides together, with the 19" sides together. (If your fabric doesn't have an obvious wrong or right side, don't worry about it. However, just a little tidbit, if you gently tug on the stretchy side, the edge of your fabric will curl. The curl will point to the right side. Fascinating, eh?) Using a fairly large zigzag stitch (I used the size that my machine defaults to, w 5.0, l 2.0) stitch the seam up. You're stitching up along the non-stretchy way. Make sense? You can chain piece these, then snip apart.

Next, take each tube, and fold up a 4" cuff to the wrong side, matching the seam you just sewed. Again, zigzagging, stitch the cuff, just catching the edge of the fabric. (Don't stress too much, this won't be seen.) You will be stitching  the stretchy way this time. (For adult hats, you can go up to 5-6" on the cuff.)

Almost there.

Turn your hat right side out, and fold so that the seam is on one side. Take you scissors and cut a fringe on the top of the hat, about 1/4"  wide and about 4" deep, all the way across. (I didn't photograph these steps with the original hats, so my example below is a just a prop. You'll get the idea!)

Near the seam, take two neighboring fringe pieces, wrap one to the left, one to the right, scrunch up the hat, and using the fringe pieces, tie them together around your bundle of fringe to make a pom pom and close up the top. Fold up your cuff and you did it!

These would make a great charity/community service project. Easy enough for kids to get involved. Have fun with them. Oh, and did I mention, they're super warm and cozy? Bonus!

Sunshine Kissed Journal Covers

This tutorial  a re-post of this post that I wrote as a guest of SewWeQuilt. Enjoy and please let me know when you try them!

Today I bring you not one but TWO journal covers! I confessed my love for journal covers in this post a few weeks ago. I'm still enamoured of them. These are my new favorites. Until I make another one, of course.

Let's start with the big one.

Oh yeah, did I mention I also have a thing for Dresden's too? Yes. Yes I do.

Here's what you'll need:

A selection of fabrics for the Dresden plate. I've had these in my stash for well over a year, waiting for the perfect project. You know those favorites that you can't bear to use? These are some of mine. Can I just say one thing here about saving fabrics? Don't. USE THOSE FABRICS! My quilt cave is in our basement. A few weeks ago, the supply line to the toilet, which is located over the basement, burst, thus, flooding the basement. Gratefully, the water didn't damage much, and my fabric is fine (whew!) but it very easily could have been soaked. So please, don't be afraid to cut into your "good" fabric. You deserve it!  Okay, stepping down from my soap box....

You'll also need a composition book for the journal (standard size ~ btw they also make these with gridded paper ~ perfect for sketching quilt designs!) Base fabric (I used linen) and a backing fabric. Honestly, I just used a heavy weight  muslin for this. It's never seen. Plus it adds a little sturdiness. You can get fancy and use a print if you'd like. For the Dresden blades and center, scraps will do. The base and backing are cut to 16 1/4" x 10 3/4" (basically, an inch taller and wider than your book, allowing for a 1/2 inch seam allowance.) Not pictured: one hair elastic, one uncovered button, to be turned into a covered button, and fabric for the side flaps, 2 pieces, cut 10 3/4" x 5 1/2".

Aside from the usual rotary cutter, mats, rulers, I used a Dresden ruler. You can get it lots of places. I highly recommend one. I think you'll find that you'll use it for all sorts of things. If you just want to make a template out of cardboard or template plastic, here are some dimensions.

Let's make the Dresden plate. First, cut your blades. I experimented a bit with the size, and this fit the best on the journal cover. You'll need 20 of these. I had 7 fabrics, so cut three of each and had one left over.

Once all the blades are cut, arrange them in a circle. Make them look pretty!

Take each blade and fold in half, matching the sides, and giving a little finger press down the center. (the wider part of the blade is shown here.)

Using a 1/4" seam allowance, sew across the top of the folded blade. You can chain piece these guys.
Little Dresden Soldiers

Snip between seams, keeping them in order. Turn the point out on each blade. Use the finger pressed seam to line up the center seam of each blade. Press.
After all the blades are turned and pressed, pick up two at a time, matching seams, and sew from side to the base (from pointy side to the base.) I like to do it this way, so I make sure my side seams match. It won't matter if the bottom seams aren't perfect.

You can chain piece these if you'd like. I get confused easily, so I sew a pair, lay it down, then pick up the next pair. After you have all your pairs sewn, pick up a pair of pairs, sew together. Continue in this manner until your circle is stitched.

I hate to bring this up, because we were have such a good time, but at this point, you need to press the circle. And, you need to press the seams open. I will do almost anything not to have to press seams open, but in this case we must. Sorry.

Back to the fun stuff. Take your journal cover front, and give it a little press down the middle. We're going to center the Dresden plate on the spine of the cover. (Of course, you can put it anywhere you want!) Line up the plate on the seam, centering it top and bottom as well.

Pin well.

Using matching or neutral thread, stitch down the plate to the cover. I stitched very close to the edge of the plate, maybe 1/16th".
Now, on to the center. I measured my center. About 3".
Totally serendipitous, one of my fabrics had this awesome motif!

There are several ways you can finish the center. You can choose not to have any center at all, and just turn under the edges of your circle (I guess you'd need to do this before you stitch the outside down!) You can needle turn applique it. I decided on a raw edge applique. I traced my circle template onto lite heat n bond. Fused the heat n bond to the wrong side of my fabric, and cut out my circle. Then, fused the circle to the center of the Dresden plate. Using matching thread, navy in my case, I used a small zigzag to stitch the center down.

For the closure, take your hair elastic, take a little thread and wrap around the end to secure it (I learned that little trick from Jeni!)
Using a 1/4" seam allowance, tack the hair elastic to the left side of your cover (which will become the back of your cover.)

On to the side flaps. Super simple. Fold long edge under 1/4", then 1/4" again and topstitch. Repeat for other side. (Make sure you create a right and left side. See picture!)

Almost done! Time to layer it up. Place your cover, right side up. Then place your side flaps, right side down, with the finished edges towards the center.

Lay your backing fabric on top, right side down.

Pin all around.

Sew, using a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Leave a 2-3" opening on the bottom to turn the cover right side out. After sewing, I clipped the corners and trimmed the top and side seams to 1/4" to reduce bulk.

Turn your cover right side out through the opening, give her a good pressing. Hand stitch the opening, add a covered button to the front and voila! You're finished!

Whew! Ready to make the small one? Much quicker. Besides, you're an expert by now!

This is the one we're going to make

How cute would this be for a stocking stuffer? Or for you to keep all of your gift lists, receipts, menu plans?

You'll need:

Front and lining, 7.5" x 5" (I used osnaburg for the lining, which you'll see later, not a great choice. Should have stuck to muslin.) Two inside pieces, (3" x 5"), hair elastic, covered button garnish. Finish the side flap pieces like above (fold, fold, stitch.) For a super easy, faster way, you can use selvage edges from your fabric, like  in this scrappy version:

For the closure, cut your hair elastic so it's one long piece. (Cut your hair elastic on it's seam.) Tack it to the front left side (which will become the back of the cover) stitching in about 1 1/2" from the side and 1/8" away from top and bottom edge.

Layer your pieces as before: Cover, right side up (keep the hair elastic on the left side), flaps, with finished edges toward center, then the inside of the cover, right side down.

Again, pin to keep layers from shifting. Stitch all the way around, this time using a scant 1/4" seam allowance, leaving a 2" opening for turning. Clip corners.

Turn it out!

See that mess at the bottom? That's why I wouldn't use osnaburg again. Oh well. Hand stitch closed. Add a decorative button (I sewed mine to the elastic.) Bring the elastic around from the back to the front to secure your mini journal cover.

Now go make a whole bunch of them for gifts!

Thanks so much for spending some time with me. I do hope you'll give these a try!