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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Folded Star Ornament

Photo: Finished my folded star ornament. Five things I learned from this to be posted on my blog

Well, it's done.  The colors in the picture look more purplish and blue than they really are but you get the idea.  Here's 5 things I learned from making this.
  1. Fabric selection is probably most important in this project.  I used the same striped Christmas material in the hotpad but with 2 different results.  By the way the back has white in the center, then the same fabrics in the other rows.  The center of this is an old counted cross stitch design I made and found in a drawer.  It worked perfectly I thought.
  2. Another thing that is important is being precise but with this I felt it wasn't necessary to be fanatical about it.  I could have been more particular with better results but this was fun.  I enjoyed pinning instead of all that sewing for a change.  You can always cover up the pins, which I found out 2 rows in.
  3. For the first time I used some tube turners that I bought.  I saw them on one of my sewing shows and thought the purchase would be helpful.  Boy was I right.  I was still turning things with a safety pin.  This consists of a cylinder which is pushed inside the tube of material then a rod is used to push the material down through to turn it right side out.  What an improvement!
  4. To finish off the ornament and cover up the 1/2" of Styrofoam that wasn't covered by the material I put a strip of red, then a narrower strip of the striped material.  I hot glued this in place and learned to make the tube with one end sewn shut which will be glued on first.  I started gluing about 1/2" in from the end so when I came around with the raw edge, I could tuck it under and hide it.  Worked out great.
  5. When I was done with this project my head was spinning from all the math I had to do.  I realize most of this is because I make up my own patterns as I go along.  It would be so much simpler if I just followed a pattern.  But I got it all figured out and I understand the process much better.
My next project will be new pillows for the new couch.  My denim rag ones just don't make the cut.  I'm going to do a rail fence pattern in brown, beiges and a contrasting blue.  All the more reason to finish that ornament so I can start a new project.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Folded Star Hotpad

Photo: Folded star hot pad I made. More info on my blog

Here's the folded star hot pad I made.  This is one of those retro patterns that I missed the first time around.  For some reason I didn't make one before.  I guess better late than never.  Anyway I really wanted to do the ornament on the Styrofoam ball but I had the pattern for the pad and thought that might be an easier one to start with.  This one was basted around the edge and was pretty simple.  What was interesting with this one was the material I used for 2 of the rows was a Christmas striped design.  Depending how it is cut and folded determines the pattern that comes out of it.  Next time I would definitely use and place material differently.  So my next project will be the ornament which is all pinned instead of sewn.  I have a bunch of old pins I never use so this would be perfect.  You're probably wondering why Christmas stuff, huh?  Well, this past weekend was Christmas in July on QVC and one of the quilt shops is planning classes that get people going on their gifts.  It got my juices flowing, I guess.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Faux Spider

Photo: Our faux spider at the cabin

It sure looks like a spider but it's just the light bulb and wire inside with the sun shining through.  I've seen this many times and also cringed thinking it was real.  One time I even got a fly swatter and kept looking for it.  I never thought to count how many legs it had or realize how misshapen it was. Maybe I can get the kids going this weekend if they think it is real.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

My Twister Jack Project

Photo: Twister jack after!

Here's my twister jack after I used the twister too.  I'm really pleased with how it came out especially since I just did this based on what I saw on the internet.  Before I started I had no idea how this was going to end up.  It is fairly simple, as I found out,to come up with a pattern.  Just lay out your 3 1/2" squares to look like the picture you want and sew them together.  My tool was the lil' twister, not the smallest I don't think.  I thought this translated to a picture better than the bigger ones.  This project was definitely not a quickie by any means.  I had my squares cut out a while ago and like usual I got side tracked into doing something else.  I finally decided when I was at the cabin by myself and the hubby was off to a blue/white game, that it was time to start.  Mistakenly I figured I could have it finished by the end of the day.  Boy was I wrong.  All those 3 1/2" squares had to be sewn in strips and then the strips together.  This thing covered our double bed at the cabin.  I don't know how many times I started to rethink this project.  I barely got the squares sewn into strips and my machine started to squeal.  Not a good sound.  It had been years since I got my mom's old Singer Touch and Sew serviced so  it didn't really surprise me.  I prodded on to finish the strips hoping I wasn't doing any permanent damage to the machine.  Anyway the project was put away yet another time to wait for the right time.  In the mean time, my machine has been serviced and ready to go.  Then when I went over to my daughter's to watch the dog, I took the project.  She had a big table to work on so it worked pretty well  -  hence the first picture on facebook (twister jack before).  By that time I was itching to finish it up so after I got the washcloth overnighters done I was on to twister jack.  Deadlines, especially self-imposed, are my friends as I realized.  With the grandkids coming next week I knew the sewing machine will be idle so I completed it yesterday.  It was really fun to do though time-consuming, but not in a hard way.  Some would say there is too much waste but with my idea to make this into a seasonal wall hanging, I have plans for as much as the scrap as I can.  I'm also looking into other projects I can use the tool with.  I see that the Christmas tree lends itself especially well to this technique.  And with the way quilters are, I'm sure someone will come up with more ideas.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Best Ant Remedy

Had a new idea to increase my blog posts as things are getting rather scarce around here.  Lately I have to finish a quilting project to post.  Anyway I'm starting a Best of ... series.  I figure I have a good bit of experience in certain things and I should spread the wealth.  This is by no means anything scientific just my personal opinion and I welcome opposing thoughts.  So here's the first.

We all usually have ants in the house at some point.  It's not necessarily a matter of cleanliness just them getting inside where they can and after something they want.  I've tried the traps and liquid on cardboard that is supposed to take the poison back to their hill but what works for me to keep them away is citrus peels.  A while back I started peeling lemons and oranges and putting them in the freezer for later use.  I couldn't see eating an orange and throwing all that peel away.  The same for a lemon if all I wanted was the juice.  So what I do is take a strip of peel out of the freezer bag and lay it on the counter where I've seen the ants.  Voila  -  gone.  It also leaves a nice scent.  It will dry and curl up and when the scent leaves, you can put out another one. 

So that's my first idea.  Hope this helps someone out there.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Washcloth Overnighters

Photo: Washcloth overnighters for upcoming cousin's weekend

Here are my washcloth overnighters that I made for the kids for cousin's weekend. I was really pleased with how the names turned out.  I used my machine to do this so it was super easy.  I will put a toothbrush, paste, floss picks and a comb in each one.  Hopefully they'll be able to use them other times such as camping.  Hey, I might even make one for myself to use.  Never know who can get some use out of it.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Patriotic Passion for Flags

Photo: My bargello waving flag

Well, finished my bargello flag yesterday except for the hanging loops on the back.  I have to do some research about that.  I learned and tried a lot of new things for this project.  They are:
  1. This time I followed the pattern exactly and it made quite a difference.  The only thing I did a little different was the strips for the star binding.  I was using a fat quarter and they are only cut about 21" and I needed a 44" length.  So I sewed two together.  No big deal there.  The rest went fairly smooth. 
  2. This was the first time I completed a project using the strip piecing method.  I've done a little here and there but this showed me the ropes.  The pattern was very precise and as long as I did what it said, I was ok.  I even had some strips left over to put in my scrap basket.  Never know when I can use it.
  3. This was also the first time for bargello.  I started a pillow doing the original bargello on the special material but never finished it.  I loved the concept and the final look though.  The bargello quilt patterns I've seen are beautiful and eventually I'd like to make one of the arch rock road on the way to Harrisburg.  It turned out to not be as difficult as it looks.  Just take it one row at a time. 
  4. The binding technique was new for me this time.  I cut my strips as per the pattern and used both materials to blend in better.  Then for the final sewing I used the machine to do all my dirty work.  It didn't happen the first time but I got it. 
  5. The last thing that I have yet to do is the loops for the hanging.  Like I said I have to research that but I'm confident I'll find a way to put it on the front door of the cabin. 
I'm really happy with my flag and kind of surprised I finished it so quick.  I thought it would be nice for the summer on the front door of the cabin.  Only another week until my next class so I'm glad it's done.