Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Lace Easter Eggs and Other Brilliant Ideas

Another great idea for egg decoration. Using lace you can glue a strip of lace or cut out little motifs to mount to the egg. (Use non-toxic washable glue or use eggs with blown out shells, even wooden eggs) Secure the motif, dip in your dye, place on a rack to dry, then carefully remove the lace. I have made these in the past using old curtains that were destined for the bin. I would stretch the lace tightly over the egg and secured the fabric with one of those little wire twistie ties from the bread bags. It took me a while to gather the ties because I bake my own bread. But it worked nicely. Only flaw was the impression, in the back. where I had gathered up the lace. Solution, make that side the back side. Of course, Martha would not have a bad side!
Last week at our Sew and Sews Group we were discussing alternate ways to Hang our quilts. If you want a new idea, no sleeve, no warping, no poufing and waving here is a great idea. Now remember this is for Wall Quilts, decorative pieces that will not likely be used for anything other than this purpose.  Marilyn brought this little beauty to our group yesterday. It is a  Stack-n-Wack pattern, beautiful colors, stitch in the ditch quilting. 
Now, our little Marilyn has apparently forgotten how nimble I am with a camera in hand! You can hide behind that quilt Marilyn but I still see you :) 
Beautifully executed borders and sashing, nice square corners, this would look so good in my entrance hall, just saying.
So here is the back shot. Mounted on a simple wooden frame, stretched taut and balanced with a couple staples in the edges to hold firm. What a great idea! I am in the process of exploring a technique called Snippets. I purchased a book a long time ago and always meant to try it out, we all know about this, but never got around to it. So last week Rose brought in two more Snippet books she picked up at the Salvation Army Flea Market. I studied them all week and the ideas are percolating as we speak, then when I saw this hanging technique I was sold. More on that in the future. I have two quilts I MUST finish first.

Did you see the blood moon the night before last? We had very heavy cloud cover so my viewing was a misty looking sort of pink thing floating in the sky at tree top level. I didn't stay up for the eclipse, I didn't wait for the clouds to clear, I went to bed, slept like a rock. In honor of that I searched for some music to commemorate the occasion, all I could come up with is  Blue Moon, The Marcels, 1961 *turn up your speakers ladies!   

Monday, April 14, 2014

National Serger Month

Did you know that? How did I miss it? With a busy day to day, a quilt show, tons of fish to bread and mountains of pirogi to roll it got lost in the shuffle. Let me try to catch up here. I purchased my first Serger, a Janome 634D sometime in the 1990's. I have used that little machine a lot. It has handled thick and thin and now needs a good cleaning, some oil and maybe a new upper blade. I just noticed last week that the stitch quality is not so good and I will need to change the needles too. It has required no maintenance other than that over the years and I have been well pleased with it.
Bernina on left, Janome on right.

In 2007 I wanted to upgrade and bought the Bernina  1300MDC. The quality of this machine is outstanding. It is more complicated than the early Janome and it also converts to a cover stitch machine.  It has  fine tuning features that makes it much more versatile for different types of sewing. But make no mistake, it makes a very professional finish to garments, home dec and quilting as well.

I like to serge all the edges on foundation quilt blocks, finish the raw edges of varied baby products such as burp pads, diaper changing pads, nap quilts etc. While a bound edge quilt gift is in one arena, day to day and wash over and over items in the layette need to be practical and sturdy. The new Moms are sometimes timid using the gifts so I make it perfectly clear that my items are to be used until they fall apart! With apparel, a clean finished edge is a must for me. I am not making couture garments and my clothes get a lot of washing. A finished edge is essential. 

About National Serger Month and some Free Projects.
U-Tube demonstration about Sergers.
Serger Tips and Projects on Pinterest.
Rolled Hem Tips.
Threads Magazine, win a Babylock Serger!
Mad Men Season 7 Premier, music, "I'm A Man" by the Spencer Davis Group

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Some Easter Ideas for You

Glittered Floral Egg Basket
Paper mache eggs from the craft store, glue on some craft felt, some ribbons or flowers.
Daffodils and Pom-Pom Chicks Basket
This little planter is perfect. I have seen these baskets at craft stores. Add pots of mini daffodils, cover the pots with some nice green moss and pop in some little feathered peeps. A nature lovers dream basket.
Doily BasketHeavily starched doilies are placed over a bowl to dry. Then carefully loosened and fill as desired.

Hello there Bunnies. I cannot believe that Easter is one week from today. Mr. Sewtopia and I were doing a little reminiscing about Easters past, when the boys were little and all the little things we would do to make the day memorable. Things are different now, we have no children to plan for and the dinner table is now down to 5. I remember having two large tables set for this special day. Time marches on. While scanning for ideas I 'borrowed' a few photo's from Martha Stewart. Who else would you emulate for Holiday Crafts?   Paper Easter Baskets

The Magic Blocks are coming Along

Sewtopia has been a busy place this week. I have been bonding with Baby, needless to say. I am still on page one of the Quilting menu. There is so much to learn. The stitch quality is outstanding. Why did I wait so long to get this machine?
The trimming is the most tedious part of the process to me. Cutting is one of those chores that need to be well done to avoid disasters on the back end. I absolutely flip out when things are crooked. We all know that my Dogs have as many quilts as they need!!!
So the Magic Blocks are trimmed and ready to be laid out. I am not keen on the floor because those four leggers of mine just cannot resist. So, I pulled  the fabric over the dining room curtain rods and pinned it all up there. Not ready for the reveal yet, I am not so keen on the thing now. Hopefully, it will look better once assembled.

I wanted to show you what happens when you thread the bobbin on this Baby.  When the bobbin is placed on the stem and the thread is tracked through its tension discs the screen changes to this specific bobbin winding function. Setting the speed on the wind resolves my need to speed and warp the bobbin. Another effortless function because the track for winding is numbered, there is an online tutorial as well. I always wind 4 or 5 bobbins at a time.
My favorite marking tool on dark fabrics, the clover chalk wheel. I use this for garment sewing and it dusts away very easily. It makes I nice thin visible line.
And guess what? I started another quilt. I bought this fabric a while ago and I don't remember it's name or where I got it. I am slipping. This one is large half square triangles with off-white backgrounds. 
In Sewtopia the Sewist gets tired after about 6 hours of work these days. (they give you pills to slow down your speedy little heart but they slow everything else down as well!) Not much I can do about that except limit the housework so I don't get over tired to sew. :) Right?
I invented another impromptu design wall, the quilt hanging on the back wall of the studio. Please ignore, or try to ignore, the competing prints. Using a Moda layer cake I have made half square triangles, there will be off- white background halfs on all sides, here you only see the top and bottom.
two more base blocks
The long term design is still floating in my head. I enjoy this part of the process most, the fabric sorting, the design plan, the ideas bouncing around in my wee brain.

Fashion Friends
***FYI: I received a letter yesterday from the powers that be at Coldwater Creek. Seems that they are in big trouble and are closing all their stores and closing their catalog. What a shame. One of the few RTW purveyors who still have a decent quality line cannot survive in this economy of throw away fashion. I have noticed their prices creeping up for the last year and have not purchased anything there for some time. Actually, since my first "Mt. Everest" project from 2012 to 2013. With the second year of this project in full swing I cannot justify spending $89.00 for a simple button down shirt. Just can't, won't. So in that sense I suspect they could blame people like me for their failure but this is a multi-faceted issue. Hopefilly other retailers will take notice. Those of us who sew can stand on our own. Quality items need to be reasonably priced. Sorry it has to end this way.
U Can't Touch This, Hammer Time

Saturday, April 12, 2014

This Week at the Sew and Sews

Pat shared this cute little quilt she made in a class at a local Quilt shop. Plaid is designed to be assembled in sections, note the over-under design and how using the back side of the fabric creates the pattern. Too cute.
Our Snowbird, Marilyn, has been busy with this 'Stack-n-Wack' beauty. The colors pop off this background. Very nice.
I may have shown this one before but Betty Jane has found a really super way to make those scraps pop against the white background.  The strings share color and tone and make an outstanding quilt to utilize those endless scrap piles.
Girls with looms, Karen made this super hat while we chatted. Everyone was so pleased with the use of gray and white. And just look at that adorable daisy ornament! Using a little loom she added this and quite frankly I was eyeing it up myself. Some sweet child at the Ronald McDonald House will be all dolled up in this. Love it. 
I think this is the nicest of the hats I have seen in a while. I need to look for my smallest loom and try this. I am already thinking of Christmas. Pains me to say it, but Spring and Summer seem to pass so quickly that I end up behind every year. This year I have lots of new ideas. Christmas in July will be more productive.............I hope! 

Notice the fabric under the hat? That is a little project of mine. I'm making it into a scarf from a remnant I bought at the TRQ show. I am hemming the edges. My original plan was to 'roll' the hem but take my word for it....this poly does not roll.  Using silk thread is making the stitches nearly invisible.  A show and tell at a future date.


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

This and That: Birds, Eggs, and Lightbulbs

One of Mary Jane's Scrap Quilts, I have Scraps on the Brain today.
 We have sunshine here. No big deal you say? You are soooooo wrong. Not exactly balmy this morning at 44 F.degrees but I'll take this anytime.

Some musings:
  • The right light bulb is really important. You know those new fangled light bulbs that are supposed to last half a life time? Well, good thing that is a lie and my kitchen light bit the dust the other day. Of course, shopping for this circular fluorescent bulb in the correct wattage is a story in and of itself, but now I can say "let there be light!" Here is the rub, it has already been replaced after maybe 10 months (hmmm) but the dear Hubs used a smaller wattage bulb because that is all he could find at the time. I have spent that time adding supplemental lighting so that I could see what I was doing. Either that or I felt like I was going blind! Nope, just needed the right bulb, who knew? So a side note here, if you had dinner here and there was something extraneous in your food... it was not my fault, blame the bulb!!!!
  • Still on the subject of light bulbs, you know I just did some rearranging in the studio to accommodate Baby.  Wouldn't you know that the pot light, just above the main sewing table, gave up the ghost. Out, gone, dark. No big deal, right? Yes, very big deal because it is high, out of reach and because Big, Heavy, Bulky desk with Big, Heavy, Bulky new machine will have to be moved again to change the darn thing. (please notice that I used a lesser expletive to describe the situation rather than one with more oomph and vitriol. Less than 12 hours out of Easter Confession I don't want to blow the whole deal) No wonder every bone and joint in my arthritic body is screaming. This Bird wants to maintain the good vibes!
  • Speaking of Birds, the crow and raven colony in my little forest are on over-drive today. Now that the Winter chill has left they are all back into their family units and building nests. Enter Miss Lucy the Black Lab and one would thing that the resident Owl or Hawk gang were on the prowl. Poor Lucy, never did her business so fast before!
  • Back to the Birds, here is an interesting little quiz to put you into an avian classification. Facebook provides all sorts of intellectual stimulation.  I am apparently a Swan. (you had to know I would be a BiG Bird! A quick little quiz.
  • And you know, Birds lay eggs. (no joke, an elderly person I know probably the early Dementia kicking in, claims this is not true! That is a story for another time.) There is a Turkey involved. Here is another Facebook contribution from a Quilting Friend I am going to try this.
I wonder if this would work on wooden or ceramic eggs? Have a lovely day Friends.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Applique Flowers and more Leaves

This beautiful quilt reminds me of some in my Vintage collection. The bright colors really pop against the white background.

In keeping with the leaf theme, this little beauty would look very nice in my entrance hall, just saying!

Fallen leaves on a tiled patio, bright colors nice sashing and borders. Each leaf is beautifully articulated. 
I find the varied interpretations of the leaf theme so charming. Every year the quilts seem to be more varied and beautiful.

If you want see the winners just click on the link.
Gallery of 2014 TRQ Winners