Wednesday, January 25, 2012

WIP: Finishes and unfinishes

Baby William's Quilt

is complete!  

I finished it right before leaving for my Scrapbook Retreat this past weekend, but am just now getting a chance to post it.  I am in absolute love with it and STILL can't thank Tracey at Traceyjay quilts enough for her suggestion when I was desperate for an idea!

I am hoping to have a "rope" embroidery tutorial for those who are interested soon, since the woven spider web embroidery technique I used for the eyes were well received.  

I pieced some leftover scraps to make the binding.  I just can't stop making pieced bindings!! I love the look and it just speaks to my "waste not, want not" side of me!

Update on William?  He is still here holding on strong in the NICU.    The quilt was delivered to my friend on Thursday, but it should be in the mother's aunt's hand for delivery today.  I have never been so anxious for feedback as I have been for this quilt.  I want his mom to love it!   I hope she knows how much it meant to me to make it for her even though I have never met her!

The other stuff?  Oh that?  I guess I will tell you about the UNFINISHED PROJECTS!

Baby Connor's Quilt

Is still on Ole Betsy, my long arm, waiting for me. 

It is loaded, so I just need to prepare some batting and get to work!  I really need to mail it out.  Especially since Mr. Boss was just visiting Connor's dad and he mentioned I had something in the works!

Christmas Quilt

On hold. The elusive Christmas quilt needs just one seam to finish piecing and some more planning and cutting for the appliques!

Thank You Quilt 
 On hold.  It might actually be placed on the backburner.  

I need to make a concerted effort to concentrate on some various household decorations and window treatments. Mr. Boss would agree that I need to make sure I am intertwining family home needs with my obsession with quilts.


I must re-organize my pantry or I just might scream.  The clutter is becoming insane. 

Organize boys' closets and dressers this week
I feel like I am going through their closets and dressers quarterly.  No one really told me that boys grow up as fast as they do 14 years ago when we had our first.  Or if they did, I blocked it out.

Which reminds me...I have never posted Baby Button's nursery and he will be ONE in just a mere THREE weeks.
I just might cry.....


Mea culpa!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Back Home

 Friday morning I left in hopes of being a scrapbook queen.

Packed up way too much (but less than I have in my "earlier" years).

3 days of FOOD, FUN, FUN, sleep, Food, FUN, FUN, Food, FUN, Massage, FOOD, FUN, FUN, and so on.  You get the idea, right? 

56 12 x 12 scrapbook pages completed in my Family Album

12 8 x 11.5 scrapbook pages completed in my Christmas Album.

Not my finest scrapbook weekend.  
But it is more progress than if I hadn't gone on my scrapbook retreat.

I had a bit of a creative block.  It also was compounded with the fact that I took so many pictures of Button this year, that I have to have TWO albums for the year 2011 and I need to purchase a new album for a new volume of Christmas Cheer.

The album pages that didn't fit in my albums

Thank goodness Creative Memories is still having their sale on albums through the 25th this month for their 25th anniversary!!!  I can't believe that I have been using their products for the last 13 years!

Disclaimer:  Not receiving any monetary or products from them!

But I officially have all of our family pictures in albums from January 2009 through November 2011.  Not too shabby.


I had planned to take photos of the event.  I even had my "good" camera with me, but I just never did.  Maybe next time?  It is only in eleven weeks!

Oh, and I finished Baby William's quilt.  Pictures and the story of the surprise I received from my friend to be coming soon...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Woven and Whipped Spider Webs Tutorial

After finishing and really enjoying the woven spider web hand embroidery technique I used for the eyes on the giraffe and hippo for Baby Connor's quilt,

  I decided it was the best technique for the elephant on Baby William's quilt.  (FULL quilts HERE).

And since I had a few questions about it, I thought I'd share the technique with anyone interested.

Woven Spider Web Embroidery 

 The foundation for this is a bunch of straight stitches.  They look like spokes of a wheel.  I liked five for the eye which when it is finished is approx. 3-4 mm diameter.  Note: The larger your design the more number of spokes you will need.

Make your straight stitches come to the same center point.

I used a second color just for instructional purposes, but you will use the same thread you started with to make the spokes!

You will start weaving the embroidery floss/thread over and under each spoke.  Pull the stitches snugly towards the center.

Keep going over and under, over and under.
It will keep building like this.

You will keep weaving until all the spokes are completely covered.

It will look different depending on how loose or compact you pulled your thread.  

Options: Any type of thread, yarn, or ribbon! 
Uses: Flowers, wheels, circles, and dots.

Whipped Spider Web Embroidery
(aka Ribbed or Backstitch Spider Web)

Guess what?  It starts out the SAME way as the Woven Spider Web.  The only difference is that you can do odd or even amount of spokes.  For the purpose of this tutorial, I just did five spokes.

This happens to be a bit more tricky, so I labeled each spoke with a number.  

To begin with, you will see that above you will go UNDER two spokes (1 and 2).

Then (see below) you will "backstitch" over spoke 2, 
then UNDER the next two spokes (2 and 3).

The embroidery floss SHOULD be wrapped around spoke 2 (see arrow above).

After you have gone UNDER spoke 2 and 3, you will "backstitch" over spoke 3.

Under spoke 3 and 4.  Backstitch over spoke 4. 

Under spoke 4 and 5.  Backstitch over spoke 5.

After a few rotations, you will start to see that each spoke will be covered and a nice spider web look in between each spoke.

And like the woven web, you will continue until all of your spokes are completely covered.

Options:  Any type of thread/yarn
Uses:  I contemplated this, but didn't really like it for eyes.  I think it would be better suited for flowers, spider webs, wheels, and of course circles and dots!

Just a reminder,  I used two different colors for instructional purposes, but you should use the same thread throughout!

And if you are wondering, I strictly use embroidery floss, and usually just use the basic DMC brand you can pick up from your local hobby/fabric store!   I have used it for 14 years now, and it hasn't ever bothered me!

Feel free to ask any questions!  Hope this was helpful!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

WIP: Finish line!

As always, I make plans and God laughs.

Actually, I don't think he even knows I exist...small potatoes over here...but I sure make Mr. Boss laugh at my "to do" list!

What messed up the plans?  A quilt.  Actually, TWO.  So I really shouldn't complain!

Baby Boy Quilts
Two little boys took center stage on Friday.  To read about them, you are welcome to go Monday's post and find out about their stories.  Very special baby boys!!

Baby William's Elephant Quilt

I was able to fix the cut corner (also in Monday's post).  I think I successfully added a rope embroidery stitch from the elephant's trunk to the heart.  I also removed the button eye. It started to bother me that I might have made a possible choking hazard.  I am still on the fence about it's replacement! made it on Ole Betsy (my long arm machine) yesterday!

 Now to trim the edges and get to work on the binding!  

The biggest challenge?  I dived right in and used soft and cuddly fabric as the backing and everything I read said it would be a challenge...and it was!  Stretchy, stretchy, stretchy.  And my thread would occasionally get caught.
But I followed advice I found on some other blogs that said to just make sure you have a lot of excess fabric.  I am glad I went for it, though, it will be so soft on his skin!

Baby Connor's Giraffe and Hippo Quilt

I finished blanket stitching his name and embroidered eyes that I am really thinking would look good on the elephant now!

*Tutorial for the eyes HERE*

I was too tired to do the binding of William's quilt last night, so I loaded Connor's up on the machine and it is ready to go if I find some time today or tomorrow!

Christmas Quilt

ON HOLD for at least a week.  After I finish the babies' quilts, I am going to pack up for my scrapbook retreat!!!


Last week I said that I wanted to get three things done...and I did.  I tore out my favorite photos/inspirations and the rest of the catalogs and magazines in the trash.  My photos for the retreat are printed and sorted, and the DVDs are all organized.  I shared it HERE and there is also a really cool link to a right/left brain creativity test that a lot of quilters/sewers in my online sewing group that just loved to take it!

I am not going to pretend I will get much done this following week, so I won't make goals.  I am always too tired to get to business when I return from my three day scrapbook retreats.  And I really don't feel like having my husband NOR God laugh at me again!

I can't believe the retreat is already this weekend. 

(and hoping I can get the ladies to let me take some photos of our retreat place and some of the amazing work they do!)


Thanks so much for stopping by today!!!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Boy, oh, boy!

 BOTH of these quilts are so near and dear to me.  These two boys are the most special itty-bitties in the world (granted what ones aren't, right?)
And if it weren't for my online/blog friend Tracey...they wouldn't be getting quilts as special as these!

Baby William

I received a call from a friend on Thursday that she was desperate for a quilt for a baby that was due soon.  William's parents found out last week that their precious bundle had a condition that could be very poor, maybe even fatal.  Of course, this tugged at my heartstrings.  Before I knew it, I found out Friday, that momma delivered that night due to some blood pressure issues.

I was in a panic! I needed a quilt pattern that was simple, quick and easy, but not boring blocks. The plan was for me to embroider his name on it.  Luckily, everyone online gave me many GREAT and WONDERFUL links and photos, but Tracey's ELEFANT quilt caught my heart.  Sometimes, you just know that it is right.  And this one is oh, so right!
I, of course, did not have any fancy designer fabric, but I did have some bright colors that I had already picked out HERE for Baby Connor.  I was able to find some solid scraps in my scrap bins.  Enough for the inner border and cute squares/rectangles!

I found a different elephant silhouette, and have added a heart.  I plan on doing some more hand stitching of a ribbon that will be tied around the elephant's trunk to the heart.  I sure hope it works out!

I was able to piece it and applique last night.  Just one oops, because I can't let you think that I am perfect wonderful all the time, right!

I accidentally cut this block when I was working on the applique pieces.  I think it was because I was getting so close to the end, that I was getting excited, and didn't pay attention.  I am just glad it was the border and not through to the center!

Baby Connor

We received the news from our friends a few months back that Baby Connor was becoming a member of their adoption!  I was so excited, because they had asked us to do a adoption questionnaire for them a while back, and I loved to see a happy ending for such good friends!!!

I had the original fabric chosen and just wasn't happy with the patterns that I kept coming up with.  When I started baby William's, I realized that it probably would be smart to work on the quilts in tandem and just make them each a bit different!

I love how the giraffe turned out!!  How awesome that I already had included this fabric in the border, right?  I still need to do some cute eyes for them and finish my blanket stitching on Connor's name.

And then, Ole Betsy, here I come!


Saturday, January 14, 2012

My left brain won...

The ongoing battle of the left and right brain was vicious, but the left side won this week.   After my post Wednesday, I became curious about which brain I actually I Google'd and found a test you can take HERE!

Funny thing, I always thought I used both and knew that the Right won on some occasions and my Left won on other occasions.  Guess what?  I was right!! 

Looking for some fun? Go and check it out!!!  And I love that image above, don't you?  Makes me want to do a project for my studio...a quilt?

So did my left brain win?  Organization.  No sewing was completed whatsoever since Wednesday.  I am hoping the left side is quite satisfied for a bit, so that this weekend is more successful!


I was able to sort through all my digital files,  organize them into simple albums to upload to Walgreens and picked them up!


If you are in need of a good deal, they have a great coupon code HERE...60% off!

DVD Movies

Mission accomplished! Mr. Boss is a happy camper, once again.  The drawer that was overflowing the spare drawer we have in the Family room is empty!  The three bins I have for "new" movies had enough equal to about FOUR bins.   Loose discs galore.  Movies in the wrong slots in the already organized binders. I think I counted 30, and I know that is low because I put about 25 away about a month ago! 

 How do I organize it?  Take a deep breathe.  Gather it all up on one place...preferably a nice big table!

 Get your trash can ready!  Put all the loose discs that have a place, where they belong.  Then I sort.  Sort by Cartoons, School Musicals/Home Videos, and then all the rest.   If a movie has people and characters, like Alvin and the Chipmunk, I do not categorize them as Cartoons.

You will find things like this:


~Organizing systems~
Purchase an organization system.  I like the three binder collections I find at Target.  But I found THESE which I really like too!

I know that you can use CD binders which are larger and hold more discs, but I love these because the insides have room for two discs and then on the opposite side a place to put the movie cover.
 The covers make finding movies that I am searching for much easier.  I am a visual person, so looking at some of the discs with the teeny tiny label just don't cut it for me!  If you can handle it, then I suggest the CD binders!  I have those for all our CDs and actually keep the covers for those in the adjacent pocket!

 I put the cartoons and home movies to the side.  
And then put the movies in alphabetical order.  I know this doesn't look bad...remember I did it the first time about 6 years ago.  It took forever (I think I had over 100 to do at that time).  I do this about every two years..

I start adding my new movies behind the letter I am working on.  So African Cats and Australia were added right before the Bs.  I am not going to fib...I take out the C's to make room for them.  And then move the C's I took out and add any C movies behind the current Cs.  I continue this until I am through all the way to the Zs.  And, yes, I have a Z movie...Zathura!

It is a bit tedious, but, like I said, I only do it every other year.  We don't buy that many movies anymore!  The first time is the EASIEST because you just pluck them in!  I, DO NOT, alphabetize within each letter.  My right brain starts getting the shakes at that point.


And when I say pluck, all I do is pop the discs, place them in their slots, slide out the "label", trim the front cover off, and slide it in the empty pocket!

Some movies come with two discs...and lately, I have found three.  I will confess...if there are three, I will double up two of them in one slot (shhhhhh!).
For the movies that only have two discs, I try to share a slot.

I leave the one in it's state and then fold the second one, and slide to the bottom.  
I also try to keep the sequels together, and again, if only one disc each, I fold the sequel cover.

And occasionally...we have a cover.  How this happens, I will never know.  But I just slip a post-it there. 

I try to find an image online to place in there later.  But not while I am sorting...NO distractions!

After the "regular" movies.  I add the Cartoon movies to their perspective binders.  Same way as above!

Then my "sets" or special collections go in the empty bins that I store new movies in (two empty ones now..woohoo!!!) and the home movies go in their own box (an old scrapbook box to be exact!)

And how long did this take me?  About 3 hours from start to finish.  There were 3 phone calls, one baby playing with that pile of plastic and needing attention, lunch, a bottle, and two diaper changes.

So not too bad!  

That is worth a few hours of quilting in my Studio over the weekend in my book, since Mr. Boss is so happy, don't you think?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

WIP: Not all sewing!

I have started feeling like one of "those" bloggers.  At least 3 posts a week?  So I apologize to those that are like "Give it a rest, Heidi!"  My excuse?  I have too many things I need to get out of my head!!  It physically throbs and aches if I don't get it out.  

And I just adore Lee's  WIP Wednesdays!   It feels like it is my very own personal assistant letting me know what tasks I have left to do!  I am actually adding my "to do"s this week so I can have a visual reminder of what is on my agenda.

So just consider this blog and especially this post for my personal health, okay?

Quilting Projects

Christmas Quilt!  

If you recall HERE, I saw a tutorial about a week before Christmas.  I took the dare. I mean, seriously, someone TRIPLE dog dared me!!  Of course, reality set in that it would be quite rude to hide away in my Studio when my in-laws arrived for the holiday, so I started working on it right after the New Year!  I have successfully cut 95% (I have the appliques still to do) and pieced almost all of it. I just have one more step..sewing my pieced "snow and sky" to the squares below!

Three baby quilts 

One baby is already here, one is on it's way in March, and the third? It was supposed to be for Ana White's "Make Two".  I haven't really started on all three other than fabric choices. So sad, right?

Thank you quilt

When Baby Button arrived, I had to take maternity leave from my most favorite job as the school nurse.  One of the mom's at our school that is also an RN, was willing to substitute.  Right before his birth, I decided that I was not going to return after my maternity leave for the sanity of our family.  She agreed to finish out the full 4 months left.  Sweet, right?  I found this kit on clearance (even cheaper than the price tag mark) when my Joann's was moving to their new location.  I hope she likes it even though he is turning one next month!

Needlepoint Projects

I bought Button's Christmas Stocking Crosstitch Kit last month, but I need to finish at least one of the two following projects first. I don't like to have more than two going at a time!

Elsa Williams Vintage Cherries
I love small needlepoint projects for "on the go" or what I more commonly call my "Bus Driver" projects.  You know, the times you are sitting and waiting for your vehicle to be loaded up at carpool or waiting for the tennis lesson, baseball practice, or saxophone lesson to finish?  This one is great, but I started it sometime last year and have made no progress other than the portion you see.  MUST GET IT DONE!

Butterfly Throw

I bought this kit YEARS ago and it collected dust in my needlepoint basket.  When I was pregnant with Button, I was organizing my needlepoint/crosstitching stash and noticed that it was flowers and butterflies.  Of course, since Jamie Lynn is our "Butterfly", I just had to start it right there and then!  It was perfect for hanging out in my Master Room chair watching Tinkerbell with Bunny (shh...don't tell anyone that he likes Tinkerbell....we watch it because we like to think Jamie would love it ;)!)  I have it set up in the room, I cheekily call the "Library".  Really it is a formal living room and study combined.  I like to call it the Library and even put the family computer in there so that it is more welcoming to the boys than a "pretty room"!


I cannot function if my house is not organized.  My left brain forces me...even though my right brain fights like the dickens!  My left brain reminds me that our house is happy and whole if everything has a place.  I have quite a few areas on my to do list, but I am only going to focus on these three this week...I don't want to push myself (tee hee!)

DVD Movies

It is time to get all of our new movies organized and the stack of movies my sons cannot manage to put back in their binders.  In order to make it happen, I stuck it all in my Studio.  My right brain will prod me to get it done faster I can get to work on all the other FUN things above.  Good strategy, no?


I am off on another retreat in about a week and a half.  I have part of my scrapbooking items organized.
 I want to start sorting my power layouts and getting all of my photos printed by the end of this week.  Usually I am picking them up at Walgreen's on my way to the retreat (oops).


Look at this collection.  All from the end of November through December!  I like to cut out ideas and inspiration for my idea binder.  

I think Button is willing to help me.  However, if it just gets too is getting TOSSED!

Now I just hope I get some of it done.  I don't want to be embarrassed next week!   Usually, however, when I go to WIP Wednesday.

I always get inspired to get going!!!


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