Monday, July 30, 2012

Paint Box Blocks Progress

My paintbox blocks are now a finished quilt top.  Yea!
Even more exciting is that this represents the last of my 2011 projectsSuper Yea!!

 I know my list is technically not finished, but it's definitely a relief to have all my projects in flimsy form and ready for quilting. 

And with that, I have cut myself loose to start on new projects.
  (...doing the happy dance!!)

In other news, we are rapidly approaching our 700th post!!  Can't believe it.  So, be on the look out for a giveaway... Soon!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Red and White Collage

Got some more blocks for my red and white quilt from the ladies this past month.
 It is shaping up beautifully, don't you think?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Not to be left out...

.....daughter #3 wanted a funky skirt like her sisters.  
I whipped one up one evening after all the kids went to bed.  

I think we'll call this the fireworks skirt because of the print. 
She'll be able to wear it with a black, pink, red, yellow, or turquoise shirt--depending on her mood.

  • Pattern McCall's 4363 (discontinued pattern that I've had for at least 8 years--copyright says 2004)  
  • You could easily make this pattern yourself.  All you do is cut the front piece shorter slightly angled down towards the side seams.  Then for the back piece start where the front side seams end and then cut longer and curve the back hem.
  • Used view C--size 10.
  • Fabric from thrifted knit sheet--$3.
  • Super easy with elastic waist.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Aloha Baby

Here's a little baby quilt I made for my husband's nephew and his wife who are expecting baby #2.  They graduated from BYU-Hawaii in the spring, so their baby (a girl) is a real Hawaiian baby.  (My 10yr old was SO jealous that they were living in Hawaii!!)  Luckily I still had a stack of leftovers from her quilt that I was able to use.  Hope they appreciate the literal Hawaii reference. 

For the back I opted for coordinating solids.
The cross-hatch quilting shows up well on this side of the quilt.  I know that this type of quilting is super simple (does simple = boring?), but I love how soft it makes the finished quilt.
I guess I'm a girl who likes less quilting.

It finishes at appox. 40"by 50"

Monday, July 23, 2012

Teaching Kids to Sew (or anyone else for that matter)

After realizing that my oldest daughter only had a couple more summers at home before she would be heading off to college (Yikes! that scares me) I decided that this summer I really needed to buckle down and teach her some clothing sewing construction--not just straight lines on pillowcases.  She already knows how to do that.  As much as I love to sew I don't really want to be sewing for my kids for the rest of their lives.

So we've slowly been working on a couple projects for her.  I did help with a couple different steps (like the invisible zipper), but for the most part she made them all.

First up was dress to wear to a Church dance earlier this summer.

We basically made view D in a shorter version and no ruffle.  This daughter is NOT the ruffle type at all.  And she also didn't want the empire seam.  The fabric is some stretch poplin something.  I've had it for a long time. Originally bought it at Jo-Ann's and was going to use it for me, but she liked it (and it wasn't blue--her go-to color--see below) and so I let her have it.  I do have another similar piece that I'll use for me instead.

We've discovered that she has pretty broad shoulders and so usually she needs a slightly larger size up top than at the waist.  We had to take it in quite a bit at the waistline to get it to look like it should.  The cut of this dress--raglan sleeved--works great for her and the gathers around the sleeves and neckline (encased elastic) are super comfy.

Then she wanted a funky "mullet" skirt as I've heard them called.

Skirt--McCall's 6567 
This fabric was super slippery and drapey.  But she got the hang of it and figured out the best way for her to handle it.

And finally a pretty little tee to go with it.

My girls love to wear t-shirts. And I'm O.K. with that, but I'd also like them to step it up a notch at times.  So this tee works well for both of us. With the pretty little gathers in front onto a neck band, and cap sleeves with elastic it dresses it up just enough.

Daughter #2's version of this skirt, which she made herself.
Here are a couple of my own thoughts on teaching someone to sew, based on nothing else except having done it before.
  • Go fabric/pattern shopping with them if you can so that you can guide them in the right choice based on the project they are making.  Too many times those left to their own devices pick something totally inappropriate or beyond their abilities:  i.e. some slippery fabric that will drive them nuts if they've never sewn before or some complex skirt that requires lots of details.
  • After showing my girls the pattern pieces and teaching them what the markings mean, I let them lay out the pattern on their own.  I leave the room, and then tell them to come get me BEFORE they cut anything.  That way they can do it at their own pace and I won't be frustrated, annoyed, impatient at their "slower-than-my-pace" pace.  This way I can check their work so that something isn't cut out wrong and the project is ruined before you even get started.  I also did this with a couple different roommates in college and it worked beautifully.
  • I do the same as they pin and sew step-by-step.  We read the pattern directions together, I show them what that means.  Then they pin and sew and then return and report to me before moving on to the next step.  And I always tell anyone and everyone: pin as much or as little as you need to be comfortable as you sew.
  • Finally, if they are happy with the finished project then you are too.  Period, the end.  Don't project any of your expectations onto them.  Of course you've been sewing longer and wouldn't do things a certain way, but the point is to teach and encourage, not criticize and deter.  They'll get better with more practice and projects and they'll recognize on their own the improvements they make.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Easy Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

One of the things that I love most about summer is homemade ice cream.  For years growing up we had a hand cranked ice cream maker that we each had to take turns helping with.  Either you cranked or you sat on the ice cream maker when it got tough to crank sometime during the process.  If you didn't help you didn't eat.  I have fond memories of those times.  Sometimes I wish we had a hand crank ice cream maker.  But for now I'll just stick with our electric one.  It works lovely.

This is a long time family recipe that we got from our mom's friend years ago when we lived in Overland Park, KS.  It is super easy and super yummy!

Mimi's Vanilla Ice Cream
2 quarts of Half & Half
1 cup whipping cream (I usually add another 1/4 c. to 1/2 c.)
2 cups sugar
4-6 Tbs. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt

Mix all in a large bowl (or directly into your ice cream container) until sugar is dissolved.
Put in electric ice cream maker and make according to manufacturers directions.

If you can, once it is finished processing I pull it out and put it into an ice cream bucket and then put it into the freezer for at least an hour or so so it can harden some.

One of the beauties of this recipe is that you can easily adjust the flavor if you like.  Add mashed or chunked fruit to make peach, strawberry or raspberry ice cream.  We've added mint extract and mini chocolate chips to make mint chip.

But to be quite honest our favorite is really just straight up vanilla.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Block Show and Tell

I guess I'm a bit behind is showing my blocks for my Bee Vintage group..
So here goes:

Garden Fence blocks for MamaSpark.  
Weird camera angle = wonky looking blocks, but I promise they are straight in real life.

A "stacked" block for ohjennymae.
I was going for a tetris sort of look...
Those little fussy cut flowers make me happy.

Pinwheels for craftytammie.
This is one of my all-time favorite pinwheel blocks
You can see the beginnings of her top coming together here.

And a big Shoo Fly for Nikki
This one finishes at 15"

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Boys at Play Patchwork

Can you ever go wrong with simple patchwork?  I think not.  

I bought some FQ's of Children at Play last year with no real plan in mind.  They got cut into charm squares where they languished for the better part of the year.  As part of my "finish what you start" plan, I'm happy to report that those charms are now a cute little (finished!!) quilt.

I have to say that primary colors never get old with me.  These fabrics have a sort of Nautical/Americana feel to me as well.  Awesome!

I added some classic pieces; ginghams, polka dots, and plaids to give it variety.  You know I can't just go with a line of fabric and be done with it?!!

The back is a reclaimed sheet in yellow gingham.  I had Lynn do some orange peel quilting on it.  It really shows up nicely on the back.  I haven't washed it yet, but I'm sure it will be super snuggly after a spin thru the wash.

Finished quilt measures 40" by 50".

Monday, July 16, 2012

Quilt Club Blocks for July

 July is the actual Anniversary month for my quilt club, so we are doing some charitable sewing as well as our normal show and tell luncheon.

A few months back Darlene brought this quilt to share with everyone. 
 (Darlene is the mastermind behind this and this.)  

We decided to finish it up (along with a few others) and donate it to our Church's Humanitarian Aid Project.  This year alone, our little town has pledged to make 100 quilts for this particular organization.  Isn't that cool?  A lofty goal, but I think we are well on our way!!   

 Since it's Darlene's month as hostess, she also gets her quilt blocks.  
She, like me, asked for red and white.

 I am giving her my tester block from a few months ago.
Since I will most likely be using white sashing in my quilt, I decided I needed to remake my block using red as the background with white geese.  And since the ladies tend to use darker sashings in their quilts the white background will "pop" nicely in her quilt.

For my second block I went with an "Emily" Block.  
Plain, straightforward with my favorite 2.5" squares.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Baby Blues (and Greens)

Another one of the five baby quilts I've finished recently.

 This one came about when I was trying to empty my string bin without wanting to make any more string blocks.  

I was also trying to figure out a pattern I had seen without having to actually buy it.  I'll just say that while I love the end result, I completely got it wrong in regards to copying the design.  
(So I won't insult the designer by linking to the original idea. :)

 I enjoyed working with a limited color palette.  This color combo is my current favorite. (Remember this pillow I made last winter?)  I'm liking the addition of the navy in this quilt.

Finished Measurements: 44" by 53"
I guess I didn't get a pic of the back anywhere, but I used a print from the DS Quilts line.
Linking up to Fabric Tuesday

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Leslie's Excuse

You may have noticed that Leslie has been a bit absent from our blog.
Well, here is the reason why.

Her little miss cutie that was born 3 weeks early on July 3rd.
Wish I was closer to come hold her.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Another Amish Buggy Blocks Update

Just a quick update for those playing along:
The deadline for mailing blocks is fast approaching. (Please mail by MONDAY July 16th) Blocks have been arriving in my mailbox and they are beautiful!  I am pretty excited to start swapping.  Again, the flickr group is providing lots of eye candy in the form of finished blocks if you need some motivation.

Here are the blocks that Renae and I have made so far:

Blocks by Renae
Blocks by Emily
Also, I am trying to get my mailing address to a few participants (over yonder and krum family)
but can't seem to find your emails on your blogs or profile. If you email me I will give it to you right away so you can send your blocks.  Thanks!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Pretty in Pink

This is the first of five baby quilts I'm trying to finish up.

It uses the leftovers from my blushing quilt.  
I like it's simplicity.

The backing is a sheet from one of my thrifting expeditions.  
Given the fact that it is a perfectly awesome stripe AND it's already super soft, it might be my favorite sheet to date!

The blocks are a mix of everything in my scrap bin.
 I LOVE how they all blend together so beautifully!  
Who says designer and non-designer fabrics can't live together in perfect harmony?

Lynn quilted it with some simple wavy lines and a flower detail in each block.
 After a spin through the wash it is incredibly soft!

Finished dimensions 40" by 48" 
Fabric Tuesday

Monday, July 9, 2012

Thrift Store Finds

Over the last couple weeks on trips to my local thrift stores I've found a couple awesome items.

Leopard print slipbacks--in my size!  I'm in heaven.  I've been trying to find some leopard print shoes for a long time, but I want closed toe and not a SUPER high heel which seems to be the style right now.  I don't need super high.  I just want a little heel.  I've already worn them to Church with this dress and love them.


And a fun bundle of mostly red print fabrics.  A couple pinks and purples are thrown in for good measure and one green with red apples.  There is one piece that is 2 yds., another 1 yd., a couple 1/2 yd. pieces and the rest are fat quarter equivalents or large scraps totaling about 20 different pieces.  Happy day!  

$5.99 for the entire bundle.

I'm thinking about this quilt idea for these fabrics and maybe recruiting my friends again for a sewing club night.  Or we may do a family improv sewing night and make this quilt.  Still trying to decide.  Either way, the reds are making me happy.  I think I might even have a few more in my stash to add to this pile.

Then hubby scored some Rockport dress shoes for $18.75.  They retail for $125!!
Another pair of H.S. Trask leather dress shoes for that same $18.75.  They also retail for over $100.  
That trip alone was worth the savings--$37.50 for 2 pairs of almost brand new men's dress shoes.

A pair of 11" Octagonal mirrors for $2.19 each.  I'm thinking of painting the frames red and hanging them in our main bathroom which has a red, white and blue theme going on.

Turquoise chandelier earrings for $5.99.  LOVE these!!

I also scored a Pampered Chef stoneware square baker--unglazed finish (which they don't make anymore) for $4.46.  It is brand new (glazed finish retails for $37) and never been used.  Love their stoneware products.  I use them all the time.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Life interrupted

Just when I think that my life can't get any crazier this first month of summer I am proved wrong.
Oh so wrong....

Tues. morning I took my mother-in-law to the airport and was planning on getting a bunch of sewing done that needs to take place.  However, before that on Monday I got a call from my friend Jenny about a slamming deal on tomatoes.  FREE! ones.

I went to check it out and lo and behold there were free vine-on tomatoes.
Not to be greedy, but I will use them all, I took 5 boxes (pictured below--16 x 24 inches) 
when there was a pallet full 4 per layer and about 7 feet high.
A couple hours later I went back with the plan to get 5 more.
There was about 10 boxes left.  I only took 2 more.

And then as they say, the real work began.
Because these babies were not going to wait much.
And did I mention that we're having a "lovely" heat wave here in MN.
Nothing like canning when it is 100 degrees outside.

Luckily I had a few willing helpers.

Coring the 'maters before the skinning.

In 24 hours time I canned (above) 2 pints of diced tomatoes
7 quarts of Vegetable Soup
10 pints of Carrot Pepper Salsa
25 pints of Jalapeño Salsa

We've eaten some and I even made a batch of this fresh salsa for the 4th of July party.
And to think I was originally wishing I had 10 boxes, and not just 7.
So yesterday I got serious and finished off the last 3 boxes and the big bowl in the fridge.

I really wanted to do tomato soup, but couldn't find a recipe that interested me.
So instead, I just canned tomato juice--13 quarts worth.
I'll use that as the base for homemade tomato soup this Fall.

It was just too hot for me to think and be creative about any soup recipe.
I just wanted them I could sew.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Stop the Presses!

I've managed to make a quilt using a single line of fabric!
It's a first for me.

It's also my oldest work in progress.
(from 2010)

To be honest, I'm still not a huge fan of single line quilts, 
but this line has a very "retro/vintage-y" feel.  
You know I love that! 

Fabric is American Jane Snippets by Sandy Klop
Directions from Moda Bake Shop

UPDATED:  You can find the finished quilt HERE.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Quilt Show

There is a fun little quilt show near where I live that my quilt club attends every year.  
Last year I decided that I'd challenge myself to put "something" in this year's show.   

I chose my favorites!


Unfortunately, I wasn't able to attend with my club ladies as I was out of town, so Leslie and I snuck away one afternoon to check it out.
It was definitely fun to see "my" stuff hanging there.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Grey Slipcover for the Couch

The week after Father's Day our cousin Tiffany was here visiting and helped me start the slipcovers for my couch, sofa, and 2 wingback chairs.  We also designed the pillows for them.

Although we didn't quite finish the couch before she left, it was soooo close.  I got it finished just in the nick of time the next week (last Wednesday), right before the spontaneous visit from my mother-in-law from Idaho.  Whew!! nothing like a little pressure and motivation.

So here are the pics of the couch redo.

Although this is the loveseat, this is what the couch looked like BEFORE
and with the new bun feet already swapped out.

During the process, draped and pinned with our sheet pattern.
You can use any scrap fabric, muslin, etc. that you may have floating around.
We just wrote on the pieces with Sharpie so that we would know what piece
was what and any other notes we needed.

Showing the new feet!
Love these so much.

All done and ready to use.
I may have to tweak a few spots after my company leaves.
There a couple places that I've been thinking about that may need some attention.
Otherwise, this is a major improvement.

Back Velcro opening:  center back panel of the slipcover.

The 2 pillows I've finished so far for the room. 
Love this green and cream fabric.

  • Used grey sunbrella fabric that I bought for $5.49/yd.--14 yds. for total of $76.86
  • We didn't use it all--probably 1 1/2 - 2 yds. leftover.
  • I plan on using some of that for the basis of a grey knit shag pillow for one of the wingbacks.  I found the right color grey knit sheet at the thrift store for $3 last Friday.  I should have enough for the pillow and a new tee for me.
  • I ended up having to serge the edges once I got it all put together because the sunbrella was raveling so much.  I don't want it to unravel even more when I pull it off to wash it.

  • We boxed out the cushions and piped both the top and bottom edges.
  • I also added some poly batting to each cushion to "beef" them up a bit.  
  • Same thing for the pillows.
  • Reused the original zippers and some of the piping.
  • The only other piping on this was the front of the armrests.
  • I didn't like the piping around the bottom of the slipcover, but that is personal preference
  • Plan on a number of days to accomplish this unless you plan on ignoring your family completely for 2-3 days.  It took Tiffany and I about 5 days--not of working solidly, but a good number of hours each day.

Notes on making piping:

If you can reuse the piping from your couch or chair then do it.  My couch, sofa and one wingback all had cushions with piping only through the front portion of the cushion--like dividing the front panel in half.  So I was not going to have enough piping to reuse and box out the cushions on all of it.

Sometimes you can just pull the piping filling out of the piping cover.  Other times it isn't that easy.  If the fabric isn't too thick you can just cut your new piping and put it right over top the first.

If you can, cut your piping strips on the bias.  They will lay much nicer and you can manuever it easier around curves or corners.

The piping filling you buy at Jo-Ann's is WAY expensive ($29.99/ 100 yds.) and not as nice as I would like.  I ended up buying cotton rope (clothesline) 3/8" by 50' for $.99 at Menards.  That is $.06/yd.  Considering I needed 27 1/2 yds. for piping on just the 5 sofa and loveseat cushions alone, this was the better way to go.

200 yds. for $4.00 not $59.98 if I were to purchase at Jo-Ann's.


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