Thursday, March 27, 2014

Texas Style Birthday!

Three and a half weeks later, I'm finally posting about his birthday, but I don't want him to say that I forgot his special day.

 I cannot believe I have a child that will be an adult in less than one year.

Button can't believe it either!

The story goes.....the birthday boy wanted boots.  Bonafide, good ole, Texas boots.  If you have not ever had the honor of buying boots?  I have one word for you.

It was also the type of thing that I couldn't go buy and wrap up. 
You need to make sure the boots fit perfectly.

So I decided to make him a Texas flag throw pillow to tuck in with his gift card.

The Marquette U. throw pillow was such a big hit last year, I thought it would be fun to do again.  Especially since I haven't finished his quilt yet. Yikes. 

But then I thought just the boot gift card would be boring, so why not more gift cards?  Or better yet?  A "certificate" declaring him an official Texan. 

 He was born in Virginia, but has been here for the past 11 years of his life!

I think he liked it! 

(Whataburger is a Texas thang)

And at that point the bunting I made for the fireplace made sense to him.

and the cupcake toppers.

All in all? A pretty successful birthday!
Too much for a seventeen year old...or not enough?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Quilt Label Fun

I think quilt labels are so important. I've been going through my blankets and quilts in our house and know that I have labels on the ones I have made. However, I also have some quilts that were handed down to us.  Especially this one from my husband's great grandmother without labels.

I know there is a story. But what story? I know bits and pieces about her, but are they true? Was this quilt actually made by her?  Don't get me wrong, I believe my in-laws, but it sure would be nice to know what year it was made. Who was it for?  

That is why I always make sure I make a quilt label. My attempts have improved over the years from pieces of muslin with sharpies to things like this to printed fabric to embroiderd labels. 

I'm always trying to find a unique quilt label because I despise a big blob on something that I've worked so hard on!

For these labels, I designed an embroidered puzzle appliqué.  I had already quilted the tops so I couldn't put them on my embroidery machine. 

Instead, I skipped the appliqué part and embroidered it out on a piece of solid fabric.

Then I cut around the puzzle leaving 1/4 inch around the satin stitching.  I did some hand stitching and needle turned them under! 

I'm pretty happy with the results and they blend into the backings pattern!  

But first, I need to add the binding on Tristan's quilt. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Button's First Quilt

   {Quilting with Toddlers/Kids Tutorial}

 I often struggle because the boys ask me frequently to learn to quilt. We usually start a super simple patchwork quilt. Get the squares cut and start piecing....then lose all steam. Sad, really. 

Button has been cutting up little scraps with his scissors lately and keeps asking to make a dragon quilt. He cuts out a tail and a body and I'm left with the question.  Now what?

Saturday,  I had an answer. 

I printed off a coloring page of Stuffy the Dragon from the Disney show Doc McStuffins.

coloring page via Pinterest. 

 I then laid it under a scrap piece of white fabric.

He and I cut different shapes and then he glued on the pieces with some fabric glue. 

His idea to make brown dots for eyes. 

We rummaged through my scraps for backing and found the right scrap batting size.  Sprayed the layers together with quilting spray adhesive to make the proverbial quilt sandwich. 

He liked the spray adhesive.  Team effort to push the nozzle!

Then we sat down at the machine and I did raw appliqué with a freemotion foot. Nothing fancy. The idea was quick satisfaction. Appliqué and quilting at the same time. 

I trimmed all the excess down. He isn't allowed to mess with the rotary cutter yet. He still steals the water bottle and squirts everything. Not to be trusted. 

We added the binding together. He likes to help push the scissor button and the foot button. 

I think the key is to give them a job and not worry about perfect finish.

I started hand sewing the back while he played with the binding clips. 

The total time. One hour.

Not too shabby for very short attention spans.

To make it official:

Quilt Stats
Measures: 8.25" x 11"
Pattern: Button's "stuffy" Pattern
Fabrics: momma's scraps
Quilting: Freemotion on momma's machine
 I had other plans with the hour I had to spend in my studio on Saturday.
Normally, I would be cranky about sharing that time.  However,

I have ZERO regrets stopping and spending it with him.
Don't forget to take a picture of the back, momma!

The smile says it all!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Rainbow Starstrip Quilt

November's Imagine Circle@ Do.Good Stitches Bee quilt is all finished!!

I asked the lovely ladies if it was all right if this one time we could give to another good cause, an auction!  The luncheon is for Special People In Catholic Education (SPICE) and being a mother of two dyselexic sons, I can't thank them enough for saying yes!

I love this quilt so much and I KNOW I will do another in the future....maybe for our regular charity!!

Now to the quilt stuff.

The blocks are using the Starstrip Block Tutorial that I worked up.  Each bee member was assigned a color.

I asked them to use coordinating low volume centers for the "stars".

They pieced together easily since the blocks were a nice size.

When it came time to do a border I really debated. Just white or a lot of color. I think the postage stamp border was the best of both worlds!

I knew I needed a quilt pattern that meanders but was interesting just the same. I decided to try my hand at "ribbon" quilting.

Definitely fun!  I basically travelled a path one direction and the traveled closely back. Letting it get wide to thin and even crossing.

For the backing, a simple black and white crosshatch. Binding small black and white dots. 

Quilt stats
Measures: 60"x60"
Fabric: scraps, scraps, scraps
Backing: crosshatch from Joann's.
Binding: dots from Whindam fabrics
Quilted: by myself on Avante 18" 

All set up for the auction!  With a quilt card to the winner so they know who worked so hard on it!

 I'm not sure of the final bid, but I know it was doing well when I checked on it midway through the luncheon!!  Thanks my dear do.goodstitches friends!!!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Open Letter to Ole Betsy

Dear Ole Betsy,

I apologize for being so neglectful of you. It had been nine weeks since we spent time together. To top it off, I left you a mess. Threads caught in Velcro. Improperly wound bobbins cluttered in your tray. Spools of thread laying on your back ledge. The paper of a pantograph collecting mold (ewww) from the humidity.   I did cover the machine, but dust accumulated in your rails and bars.

Shameful really. 

After everything you did for me last year, especially in the ninth hour before Christmas.....

Can you ever forgive me?

Were the hours I spent cleaning you and the area today payment enough? 

Handiquilter Avante 18" (affectionately called Ole Betsy)

If not, I hope that the six tops awaiting for your glorious magic sways you. 

I also have a surprise for you!

 Look at what I got for Valentine's Day!  Microhandles for you!!!!
Look!  He even cut a picture of them in a heart for the card!
Here's to you!  *Cheers*

I've missed you, dear old girl!
May our year be as productive as last year!!!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Just Call Me A Plotter

Here's the deal.  I am a plotter.  I am methodical.  I look at all the angles.  I consider all the options.  I take FOREVER to to plan and plot.

  However, when it is time to execute?   I work lightening fast. 
I quilt that way too.  I spend months, even years planning quilt patterns and idea.  

So do not fear. When you see me "whip a quilt out" in a weekend or even a week.  I promise. It took me FOREVER to get there.

This pattern is one you are familiar with.  I am sorry if it disappoints, but the methodical planner just had to give to try out the Craftsy store with a free pattern that is already done.   Now that I have it set up, I can't see why I can't just finish the quilt patterns I have in the works!

Are you a slow planner and quick executioner or are you the opposite?  I'd love to hear!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Sorrento Quilt

This quilt was for my husband's parents this past Christmas.  They are world travelers and the pattern I found in one of my older American Quilt and Patchwork Magazine issues seemed to fit the traditional European look.

I chose the really bright yellows/golds, greens and reds because they have decorated their home with those colors.  It actually reminded me of Sorrento, Italy and the amazing textiles you see there. Even the buildings are painted in bright colors!

Hubby and I had taken a Med Sea Cruise about 10 years ago and it was one of our stops.  Ironically, they had visited it on a long bus tour of Italy that same year and had raved about the town. 

I started with the center medallion.  However, ithe original pattern dimension was too small for a nice throw.
It was at that point, I turned it "on point" and added a second inner border and large yellow triangles.  Just that small change made the quilt transform from 40" square to 70" square!

As you can see, I used the original leaves and dots for the outer border, but decided to play with them more to fill in the yawning negative space.   I included vines to extend the look. Otherwise, they looked like sad little leaves.

The one thing that was new for me was that I decided to use the pattern's technique for the applique.  I usually do needle-turn applique or machine stitch applique and then add embroidery. However, the pattern designer encouraged quilters to use the embroidery floss to not only enhance but stitch it straight to the background.

I have to admit, it made it faster, but I felt like it had more of a folk art feel to it, which was interesting.  I am not sure I will do it this way again. 

I did have fun with the quilting.  Swirls in the dots, vine and squigglies in the leaves.

Meandering in the outer border, s-curves in inner borders, swirls.  You name it.  We won't mention to them that I was literally quilting it, right up until 10 minutes before they pulled in the driveway. Just in time to unpin it off the longarm rails!

The medallion part was my favorite.  I echoed around the flowers and vines.  And then in the triangles around the medallion, I did a fun free emotion peony-like flower. 

I decided to go with the check binding to reflect the inner borders.  I snuck in bindig stitching late in the night after they headed to the hotel. 

I'm not thrilled with the backing. I had really wanted to have one solid color for them because they are traditional. It was this moment that I realized that I have been doing a great job of using stash only and just do not have significant yardage to do complete backings!

I did have fun with the label.  I really am digging embroidered labels.  The label went on Christmas Eve.  Wrapped and under the tree for Christmas morning.  

However, I did warn them when they opened that I knew I had to do a few snips here and there and wash it...I was in urgent care with Button for the flu Christmas Eve evening!

Quilt Stats
Measures: 70" square
Pattern: A Fresh New Attitude from AP&Q magazine.  
Fabrics:  Stash buster.
Quilting: myself on Avante 18 longarm 

I sure hope they don't just lay it on the back of a definitely is a good size to cuddle under!

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