Saturday, December 31, 2011

UFO Finished!!

Happy New Year to everyone!!  I actually finished something today  I just had to share it.
First item finished is a pin cushion that has been hiding in my stash for a couple of years.  It is the size of a cupcake, because it is supposed to be a cupcake, and it turned out kind of cute.  (Sorry the pics are kind of dark I am still trying to figure out how to take good pictures)

This is what I was really excited about.  Machine Quilting!!  I would love to own a long arm quilting machine, but that will not be happening in the near future because they are just too dang expensive!  So I decided why not use what I have, my home sewing machine.  Yesterday I decided to practice a little bit, I made a little quilt sandwich (about 6 square inches) and started sewing.  This is what I came up with . . . (drum roll please)  

a feather!  Alright, I had to tell you what was just in case you couldn't tell.  I know this is nothing to get really excited about but this gave me a little more confidence that with a lot more practice I could produce something that would pass as machine quilting.  
Then I really got a wild hair and thought well if I could do something on a 6 inch square why not try a whole wall hanging.  So, I made the sandwich (the top was already complete), started quilting last night, and it was awful!  It felt as if I were wrestling with the whole quilt and it was winning.  My stitches were uneven, so I put it away and went to bed.  I gave it another try this morning and I actually finished the whole thing!!  Once I decided this was a learning project it was easier to accept my mistakes.  Here it is, a wonderful, finished (yea) Halloween wall hanging, along with a few close shots of the quilting.   

I have to say novelty prints are not really my thing but I decided if it was just for Halloween it would be okay.  In fact, the prints helped hide a lot of my beginner mistakes.  I am not going to point them out because I should be happy with what I did right??  
There is one thing that really bothers me and I need your help.  It doesn't hang right.   

Can you see it?  Along the sides and bottom it kind of ripples.  What causes this?  I'm pretty sure the quilt was square before I started, I can live with it if it is only one quilt but I want to fix it for the next one. 

Machine quilting is one my goals for the year, as well as finishing some UFO's.  It should be a productive quilting year!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

UFO Challenge

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas, or holiday season, whichever you prefer.  Our little family had a great time and I will have more to share with you later.  With all the Christmas decorations put away and my house feeling a little more normal I am excited to get 2012 started.

This year I am participating in the UFO challenge from Judy's blog.  I don't know Judy, I just read her blog, but I love this idea about trying to finish up an old project every month.  I am really good at starting projects but I get bored after awhile and start something new.  Hopefully this will challenge me to get a few of my projects finished.  I am supposed to number each project and each month Judy will randomly choose a number and we will try really, really hard to get the project finished within the month.  A few of mine I am pretty sure will take a few months so I have assigned them two numbers.

Here they are in no particular order.

1.  Viola's Jewelry Box

       I designed this quilt top for the McCall's Design Star Challenge.  It just needs to be quilted, I have the back and batting.  I may try using my home machine to quilt it, but I'm not sure if I am that brave!

#2 & #3  My Tweets by Erin Russek
     This block of the month has now ended and I am very far behind.  Erin has the final quilt on her blog.  I can't wait to get it finished.  Take a look and imagine all the white parts in black, that is what mine will look like!  This is a little bit of what I have so far.

#4  Pieceful Garden

      I remember sharing a few parts of this quilt with you but I don't think I ever posted the finished top. I am not going to add a border because it is just the right size to hang in my entryway.  It just needs to be quilted, again I'm think I will be brave and quilt it on my home machine.  Ahh, Scary!!!

#5  Embroidery Envelope

     This little envelope is made out of wool and will hold spools of thread, needles, and other notions for when I am sewing on the go.  I completely forgot I had this until I was looking for UFOs.  It shouldn't take too long!

#6  Christmas Wall Quilt

     I started this cute quilt last Christmas but it never made it to the useable stage.  All it needs is a border (which I already have) and then to be quilted.  I am hoping it will be used next year!

#7  Christmas Countdown

     This little advent calendar just needs to be machine stitched around the numbers, Santa ironed on and make each piece into a little tiny quilt.  

#8  12 Days of Christmas

     Wow, I sure do have a lot of Christmas projects!!  I think it is because I get really excited about making stuff for Christmas and then I don't have as much time as I would like to work on them.  This is a kit I bought for 1/2 price after Christmas one year.  I would love to hang it on my wall next year.  It is much cuter in real life.

#9 & #10  Twisted Log Cabin

     I remember seeing this quilt on Simply Quilts by Alex Anderson many years ago.  I loved it and when it was offered as a class I jumped right on it . . .  in 2008!!  It is completely paper pieced and you have to have a roadmap just to make sure everything will fit together in the end.  Right now I have about 30/60 triangles finished. I would be happy if I just finished the top within two months.  

road map
a few of the triangles I have so far
 # 11  Dipped in Chocolate

     This is a lap quilt that is pieced and in the process of being hand quilted.  All the pieces are 3/4 inch finished.  I think I am about 1/2 way through with the quilting.

#12  Toulousse

     My final UFO is this quilt, Toulousse, which I think is a kind of duck?  Really I'm not sure but I think a duck had something to do with it.  Again, another Christmas themed quilt.  This is ready to be quilted but I am thinking of adding another border or two so it will fit my king sized bed.  I guess I will finalize when it is time to work on this one.

When I was finding all of my old projects it was kind of like reconnecting with an old friend.  I am excited to get started and hopefully finish quite a few!!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

One More Week

I don't mean to wish my life away, but I am relieved this week is over.  We had some activity every night and with it being as cold as it is I am grateful to spend some time at home this weekend.  
Most of our activities were dance performances.
Big K had her first ballet performance it was so cute.

Big L had her first jazz performance.  I think she is just growing up too fast.  She really did have shoes we just forgot to put them on for the picture.

Between the big girl's performances, the ward party, the elementary singing program and another performance from Little A we had a very busy week.  I was really excited when it was 6:30 on Friday because then I had the rest of the weekend to myself.  

One of the best things about this weekend was my brother and sister in law came down for a visit.  We had seen a cute ruffled tree skirt on Pinterest.  If you don't know about Pinterest head over and check it out.  It is an online pin board where you can save all the wonderful things you find on the internet.  
The tree skirts we saw are pinned here and here.  We just followed the tutorial on the first pin , but instead of using hot glue for everything we used a little bit of sewing, and it worked out great.  I finished the edges, sewed the ruffles and my brother and her glued it on.  

I'm sure they will probably kill me for posting this pic but I thought it was so sweet that my brother was down on the floor helping her get it finished. He earned some serious brownie points in my book!
This is how it ended up!  

We cut the strips 3 inches, rolled the edges under and used a ruffling foot to do all the hard work.  She bought 1 yard of each fabric and we didn't have enough of the black print.  So if you are going to try this I would suggest getting 3 3/4 total yards.  

I know it is going to look great under their tree.  I hope she had a great time because I did!  
Good luck to everyone who has Christmas projects they still need to finish, I know I am going to need it!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Busy, Busy!

Life has been busy at our house!  We have decorated two Christmas trees.  
The living room tree, decorated in traditional green and red,

and the tree in our bedroom.  

It is kind of hard to see but this tree is artificial with white flocking on it, and it is decorated with ice blue and silver ornaments.  When I found this tree in the store I was quite excited because my family always had a flocked tree when I was little.  I guess I have a fondness for them.  While I was deciding if I wanted to spend the money a few people walked by and commented on how ugly flocked trees are.  I felt a little defeated but now it is decorated it is just my style.

This week also marks the start of high school basketball season.  Which means the girls will dance a few times a week at half time.  This week it was Little A's turn.  It was a big deal because this was her first performance ever!!  She was over the top excited!

I have about 20 pictures of her because she just wanted me to take more and more.  Of course she was adorable, and only the three year olds can look cute when they are just standing there or doing their own dance.  I thought she did a really good job.
I am a little worried about her after the conversation she had with my mom this morning.  My mom was not able to make the performance and when Little A talked to her on the phone she said "Grandma, thank you for coming to watch me dance."  I really hope she wasn't trying to lay a guilt trip on her because we would be in big trouble as she grows up.   

In the midst of this I did get a little sewing accomplished.  I started with a layer cake and sewed a 2 1/2 inch strip around the outside. 

Then I cut the block into fourths.  

These blocks will be turned and sewed together in a pattern that looks much more complicated than it really is.  Even though I have an even busier week coming up I am determined to have the top completed by next Sunday.  Wish me luck!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

I know it is a day early, but I would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!  I know I am grateful for many things, especially my family.  They mean everything to me and my day gets better just by walking in the door.

If you have been following this blog you may have noticed it takes me a while to get certain projects finished.  I wanted to share some fall pumpkins I have been thinking about for a few months now.  They started out like this.

I used Mod Podge, and fall themed fabric cut into strips about 2 inches wide.  You can see I didn't measure, just started cutting with scissors.  

I painted Mod Podge on the pumpkins and then just stuck fabric to it.

I overlapped the pieces just a little bit.

When it was completely covered I added another layer of Mod Podge to the entire pumpkin and waited for it to dry.  

For the second pumpkin I tried something a little bit different.  I cut a circle out of burlap with a hole in the middle and put it over the top of the pumpkin.  

I used Mod Podge again to adhere it to the pumpkin.  The burlap wasn't sticking so I used a few pins to hold it until it dried.  (Sorry about the picture I can't figure out how to rotate it, arghh!)

A little brown rick rack and a few bows on the top and they look like this!  I think they are much cuter than the $4 plain pumpkins I bought at WalMart.  

I am going to be on the lookout for discounted pumpkins just so I can make some more for next year.  

I know it is kind of late for a tutorial for a fall project but I am happy to be able to cross something else off my list!  

Monday, November 21, 2011

Finally Finished

YES! something accomplished!!  I am so glad to have these two quilt tops finished.  They are for a certain holiday that is coming up soon and I am just happy to have them this far along.

I decided to add a monogram to each quilt.  These are made from the chenille strips also.  I just pinned them to the quilt and sewed down the middle.  

I think they turned out quite cute.  And I know they will be well loved and appreciated.  

I have one more top to piece and today I found the pattern I am going to use.  I am never this far ahead with anything I do, but I'm sure there will be some binding going on right up to the end.  Since this is a short work week I have big plans I hope will be accomplished.  If you have a few minutes please hop over to Judy Laquidara's site, Patchwork Times and see who else has linked up to Design Wall Monday.

I hope everyone enjoys their Thanksgiving Holiday!

*Edit*  Check out Freshly Pieced for other WIP Wednesday Projects

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Little Things

I just wanted to share a great experience I had on Friday afternoon.  I am extremely lucky to be called "teacher."  It is a profession I enjoy and love.  Yes, some times it is hard and emotionally draining.  But somedays make up for all the others.  I had a day like that on Friday.  We were at our final recess, right before we went home when they reminded me of something I had forgotten long ago.  

These Kindergarten students work very hard when we are in the classroom and when it time for recess they burst out of the doors and lap up every minute they get.  It usually consists of tag, slides and running around screaming.  This recess started out exactly like that.  However, after a few minutes it quieted down and as I looked around to see if anything was wrong I noticed about half of the students had laid down on the sidewalk, were talking quietly and pointing to the clouds.  

It was beautiful seeing them enjoy something together.  As I walked towards them I thought it was so cute the way they were talking and agreeing with one another.  I stood next to them and looked at the clouds and could kind of see what they were talking about.  Then I decided to lay down next to them, and something magical happened.  I was instantly transported back to the wonder of childhood.  There was something about laying down and looking at those clouds, the same clouds I saw when I was standing up, but something had changed.  Images jumped out at me and I found myself giggling at the same things they did.  I could see the world through their eyes.  In that moment I was grateful to be their student.  

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Something to Share

Yesterday at the end of school just as I was getting ready to leave Robyn, the teacher across the hall, came in with a mission. She had this beautiful quilt to show me.

Robyn started this quilt a few years ago (not quite sure how many, time has become a relative term lately). It is a traditional Grandmother's Flower Garden, completely hand pieced, and hand quilted.

Isn't is beautiful! Robyn is one of the reasons I love to quilt, and especially applique. She does exquisite appliqué work and at the time I had no desire to even attemp it. She kept encouraging me to just try, and once I saw the pattern for Vintage Valentine I decided to give it a try. After one block I was hooked! This was a great way to start my weekend.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Almost Finished!

I am getting closer to finishing these two quilt tops.  It is hard to keep motivated!  There are some days I come home from work and I don't want to do anything.  For example, last night I did not accomplish anything productive.  I have to do lists that need to be taken care of!  Then I couldn't sleep because I was worrying about everything that I should have done but didn't.  
Today was a much better day.  Look below, I finished the borders on both quilts!  

They are sure long and skinny!  I really like how they look so far.  I was able to pin the bias chenille fabric to one border.  Hopefully I can sew it on tomorrow after I finish teaching dance.  (Oh yea did you know I teach dance classes once a week?) 

The upper right corner and the bottom left side kind of bug me so maybe I will have to change it before any sewing is accomplished.  My design originally included a monogram on the bottom right corner, but I'm not sure if I will applique anything there.  I guess that will have to be for another post.  

Also, someone else was being creative at my house today.  After the girls came home from school Big K decided she wanted a new outfit for one of her bears.  She picked out a cute fat quarter from her stash and Big L cut it apart and made a wrap dress out of it.  

 I taught her how to sew on snaps to hold it closed in back.  It wasn't much but they had a great time working together.  As a mom it is always wonderful when they are having fun.

Whenever I get the camera out this little one always wants her picture taken and this is the pose we snapped tonight!  Pretty cute if you ask me.

I hope everyone else's projects are going well and if you have any advice on how to stay motivated please leave a comment.  I'm always looking for helpful hints.