Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A new table runner tutorial

Hi everyone! Guess who I'm hanging out with today? 
(Well, not in real life - I wish! - but in blogland)   
I'm sharing an easy tutorial for a quilted table runner.  
It's so quick and easy, you can make it in an afternoon.
In other fun things at our house, this is what I discovered on the kitchen table yesterday after I got off the phone with my neighbor. Some nice new Sharpie art work!  Fortunately I had some miracle product that got most of it out.  I totally held my cool, but all threats of discipline were only met with mischevious giggles. Until. . . I put the Webkinz Gecko (stuffed animal) in time out for a couple of days. Then I witnessed great anguish and lamentation.

(Is it mean that I took a picture?)

Post Edit: A couple people asked about the miracle cleaner: Sol-u-mel made by Melaluca. (A neighbor was a distributor.  Took that stuff right out.)  I fully endorse Mr. Clean Magic Erasers as well.  They work wonders getting out crayon too!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Something Green

This past week was my sister's birthday too. (March is kind of a busy birthday month around here.)  This is my sister closest in age to me. She would prefer to remain anonymous, so I won't mention any names, pseudonyms, or favorite NBA teams that might give her away.
Here we are on a family trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming

When we were little we shared a room, wore matching clothes, played with our 'babies', and roamed the neighborhood playing 'pioneers' and 'Little House on the Prairie' together.

I always associate my sister with the color green.  Part of the reason is that she is the only one in our family with green eyes. Green was also her favorite color. When we were little we each had a cup we used every meal time. Mine was yellow, her's was green.  My favorite drink was milk and her's was 7UP because it was green. (Or at least that's what we thought because it was always in the green bottle or the green cup.)
So for her birthday this year, I made her a green bag.  
I used the pattern from The Wasp Bag tutorial.
the wasp bag
I made a couple of changes, but I love the shape of this bag. It's been on my "to try" list for a long time. It's also listed on the DIY Baglover page.

DIY Bag Lover

Have you ever been to this site? It's basically the motherload of free tutorials for dozens of different bags. Wow.  There are many I want to try.

So thanks J for having a birthday so I could finally try this one! :)

Friday, March 26, 2010

An Extra-Special Vintage Quilt (for an extra-special boy)

Today I want to share one of my very favorite vintage quilts in my possession, in honor of a very special boy. Thirty-something years ago today, quite-possibly the cutest baby boy ever, was born.
See? I told you.
This boy has a really sweet mom too.
And when he got a little older, she made him this quilt.
 As I pulled out this quilt to take pictures, I fell in love all over again.
I love the colors, the fabrics, and the happy little appliqued blocks.
I think the hamburger and hot dog are my favorite.
This quilt is a treasure to me.  When my girls were really little I used to let them play on the quilt and point to the letters, numbers and pictures. I don't want to let my boys touch it with a 10-foot pole (because I fear the damage they could do), but I guess I should let them at least look at it and tell them about it
I love the little boy with the big blue eyes in the bottom corner.
I also love that boy with big blue eyes now that he's grown up.
Happy Birthday to my sweetheart!
(Who is still as cute now as he was back then. I know. I'm so lucky.)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Fun in the Post

I've had some happy post (mail) recently.
Some expected, some unexpected.

First, I finally got my hands on a Kona color card thanks to Jackie. She has more available and a big selection of Kona fabric.  After buying a pile of Kona, I decided I wanted to be able to match colors. Wow, all that color is so inspiring.  And pretty.
Speaking of pretty, a new issue of Cath Kidston arrived.
Make's one so excited for Spring.
You can totally get your hands on one of these too (for free) if you go here!
This one was a surprise! My very own pair of Vancouver Olympic mittens! AAHHHH! These were sent by my Vancouver blog-pen-pal, Barb. We first exchanged communication about Mr. Roboto last summer. With the Olympics last month, we chatted more.  She observed my Olympic fanaticism excitement and was so generous.  Many, many thanks again, Barb!
And finally, another fun little surprise from a new friend, Sarah, in the UK.  Whose blog motto is: "A little bit of clutter goes a long way." lol.  Oh how I relate! She sent, a wonderful shopping bag (I am gathering quite a collection of smart shopping bags from the UK - I am going to be the object of massive jealousy at my local Walmart), a little Union Jack and a package of Jelly Babies, which are long gone.  Thank you British friends for taking pity on my Jelly Babies cravings.  My dentist thanks you too.

Monday, March 22, 2010

March Bee Blocks

March Bee Blocks.
These ones are for Angela. Wow, such fun fabric to play with. (I love seeing what other people pull together.  These fabrics were a fabulous combination of colors and design.)
Angela is an amazing quilter. Also a very generous one.
She has made a bunch of quilts for good causes recently.  
If you haven't met her before, you can visit her blog here.
These blocks are for a charity quilt Rebekah is putting together for Children's Village in Detroit.  It was a great project to work on.  I've always wanted to try this Maverick Star (link to tutorial).  I was only planning on making 3 blocks, but had so much fun, I couldn't stop.

I really need to do more charitable sewing. I know it would bless my life. I'm so impressed by all the women I've observed doing and making handmade goods for others in need. Sometimes, okay often, I've felt guilty that I'm not doing more to 'save the world.' (I'm probably not the only woman who feels this way.)  I have to step back and remind myself that "feeding the hungry and clothing the naked" applies to my own children as well - because they are often both hungry and naked.

Still, it is absolutely inspiring what good in the world can be done by the "small and simple" efforts of women everywhere giving a little something extra. Here's to more of it!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Love o' the Irish

 Guess what the leprechauns left in my mailbox yesterday?
A copy of Irish Quilting magazine -
- which  I thought was quite appropriate for St. Patrick's Day!
 The magazine contacted me a few months ago about my Ireland quilt. Someone (thank you whoever you are!) had sent them the link information about this quilt. They asked me about possibly spotlighting the quilt in the magazine. I felt quite honored!  And pleased to have this way to memorialize my Irish friend (sad story here). Possibly sometime later this year!
And here is the gorgeous, wee man himself.

When I sent the quilt I received a really nice thank-you.
Then the next week I got this message from his Dad via Facebook:

"By the way on the blanket are they ment to be Irish flags? Being a bloke and unsesitive to such things it was pointed out to me this evening at a freinds house that they looked like Irish flags, and if that is the case did you make it?  If this is true then your blanket will have to be promoted to GREATER THAN the dino blanket (and that's quite huge...). Alas it will not replace the No. 1 blanket, which if you wrap him in it when he's feeding (with the sound effects) makes him look like a boar piglet, he's just too cute then. "
Lol - I love it! Aww, God bless this single dad, doing the best that he can.

And speaking of Ireland, those sneaky Leprechaun's also turned our milk green and left a box of Lucky Charms. The night before my kids were arguing about whether you could die from a Leprechaun's pinch and my husband told them "No you can't because there's no such thing as Leprechauns."  (Not to be mean - he just really hates the idea of kids being deceived.) My 5-year-old son was quite shocked and said, "Well, they should just delete this holiday."

When my son discovered the milk and Lucky Charms the next morning, I thought he would be dubious. Instead he was delighted and said,"Leprechauns must be real because you NEVER buy good cereal mom!"

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Mending made fun - a mini tutorial

 As much as I enjoy sewing, I really don't like mending.

But recently we've had an epidemic of holes-in-knees, to the point where children we running out of jeans-options in their wardrobes.  I really didn't like the thought of buying replacements - especially for the youngest of each gender - just to get us through the last few months of pants-weather.
So here is what I came up with.
Start with the iron-on Dritz patches.
I discovered if all you do is iron them on, they fall right off.
Plus, rectangles are kind of boring.
This is the solution.  I cut out some hearts.
Then ironed, then stitched. 
(Plus, stitching and embellishments on jeans are so 'in' right now.
Think how cool and chic your kids will be.)
I used a heavier-weight DMC thread, a heavy-duty needle and a thimble.
Because it's a little tricky stitching something in the middle of a pant leg, I suggest rolling the pants up to the knee first. (I know that sounds pretty obvious, but it took me three pant legs to figure that one out, so I thought I'd pass it on, just in case.)  It's also pretty hard to work from the inside of the pant leg, so stick your needle through and pull from the top. (See picture.)  It's tough stitching through that many layers, which is why I strongly suggest a thimble.  A little rubber grip to pull your needle, wouldn't be a bad idea either.
Here's another option.  (Actually this was the first one I tried.) This time I used the boring rectangle, but I embellished with a little wool heart.  The wool is easy to tack-down and came through the wash beautifully.

Hope that helps anyone out there having an epidemic of their own! I will admit that these patches are kind of 'girly' and I haven't really come up with a good option for my boys. Feel free to share any favorite (or improved) mending tips of your own. My other hurdle is holes in knits (jersey) fabric. Any brilliant suggestions?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Little Miss Sunshine

My niece also had a birthday this weekend.  
She is a big-two-year-old girl now and loves to take care of her dollies.  
So for her birthday I decided it would be fun to make her a doll quilt 
using the scraps left over from her quilt.
 This girl has personality coming out of her ears.
(Not to mention bright orange/red hair.)
I had already planned to call this quilt Little Miss Sunshine in her honor,
and then as I was digging through my stash for a back, I found this.
Every dollie needs a pillow too.
Also, a Lazy Days skirt.  
This fabric matches both the quilts and her personality.
It's fun to make skirts for little people.  
My girls are getting big and it takes more time (and fabric) to make stuff for them. 
So it was fun to whip-up a little-person skirt.

Many, many thanks for all the kind birthday wishes and very little Snuggie jealousy.
(Except you V! lol.)  You people are all so nice.
My sewing time ended up being only an hour, but that's partly because a nice friend took me to lunch and because I fell asleep on the couch for a while. But, hey, I'll take lunch and a nap on my birthday too.

Friday, March 12, 2010

It's my birthday and I'll sew if I want to. . .

I think that is Holly Hobbie on my birthday cake.

Sorry, I just couldn't resist that post title.
I already ate Rubio's fish tacos this week (love half-price Tuesdays), 
so I feel like I'm off to a great start.
Nothing too momentous here, but I am going to allow myself to sew as long as I want today.
And go out to dinner with my husband.
(Yesterday was also the anniversary of our first date thirteen years ago. Awww.)

Last week I got together with an old friend for the first time in a couple of years.
We have the same birthday, which we discovered when we were in High School. 
We also discovered that our cute grandmas were first cousins and close friends. 
We would always take each other to lunch on our birthday and buy cheese fries.
No cheese fries this year. This time I brought take-out to her house since she'd just had her sixth baby! Don't you love those friends where it feels like no time has passed and you just pick-up where you left off, even if it was a few years ago?  I also brought her a little baby gift because heaven knows you need new burpies for baby #6.  I also brought her a nursing cover.  I figured she'd probably already have one, but discovered that she didn't!  (I mean, you survive nursing 5 kids without one, why get fancy now?) She was very excited.  It's always fun to give someone something they can really use. And this will come in really handy since four of her other five children are boys ages 2-11!

I hope that it's starting to feel like spring where you are. We keep getting tastes of it and then it gets cold. But my tulip bulbs are starting to poke through the dirt, so I'm taking that as a good sign.

 Post Edit:
 I already felt kind of hokey blogging about my own birthday, but now I'm going to make it worse and share the presents from my kids too. Please try not to be jealous that I now have my very own Snuggie.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Works in Progress

Now that my red solids are washed, I'm ready to finish my Dresden blocks!
Next, I finished top for a baby boy quilt.
This one may end up in the etsy shop.
And some kits - I figured it was about time we did something 'boyish.'
See that print of the cars driving on roads on yellow.
My 3-year-old informed me that it's cars driving in the desert.
I love how kids see things differently.
To me, it was just the yellow colorway of that print.
Then there's this beauty.
Yesterday I spent the morning (thanks to the kind generosity of my awesome neighbor who watched my little boys) with my mom's cute quilt group learning this technique for making a traditional lone star. (Is that what it's called?? My mind just totally went blank.)

I've been in the mood to make one ever since seeing Nanette Merrill's here and since seeing this picture: This is from none other than Sandy Klop's (our beloved American Jane - who else??) book: American Jane's Quilts For All Seasons: And Some for No Reason. Oh if I had the time (and patience) to make this quilt. I just love it!
For now, I'll keep it to one star.
My colors are inspired by Sandy and Nanette.
I based everything around that turquoise.
I love it.
I'm excited to see this one come together.

Can you tell I'm into bright colors these days?
Maybe it's my taupe/beige walls that need some cheering up.
Maybe it's my subliminal desire for summer.I've always been a little (okay, a lot) intimidated by this quilt pattern. Matching points on squares is daunting enough, but diamonds cut on the bias. Eeek. But this method was so slick!

It's from a company called QuiltSmart and is so nifty! Basically, it's like paper piecing only you don't use paper you use pre-printed sheets of adhesive stabilizer, that you don't have to remove when you are done. I'm not far along, so I'll report back on my progress. Has anyone else out there used Quilt Smart before? I think I'm hooked.