Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Scrappy Crib Quilt Top

Over the weekend I became so tired of the constant cold, snow and dreariness that I decided to snoop around my stash of fabric goodies and see if I could find something bright, cheery and small to experiment with in the sewing room.

I found a Moda Jelly Roll (roll of pre-cut 2 1/2" strips of fabric)....so cute, pastels with a pop of red for a pleasant surprise.  The design line is doggie related so there are dogs, bones, etc...along with florals, plaids, etc., and each fabric has a vintage look from probably the 1930's...right up my alley! :) :)  I needed a few additional strips of fabric in order to have enough for this 48" x 48" square crib size quilt top so I added a few solid pastels to the bunch.

This is SO easy and simple and there is a detailed, step-by-step, color photo, printable tutorial at this link:

Because Bonnie Hunter is famous for being a "scrappy quilter"...she does not include actual fabric requirements in this particular tutorial.  Don't worry, I did the math for you. :)

My calculations are based on starting out with 2 1/2" strips of fabric that are WOF (width of fabric)...typically 44".  Of course, then you would simply follow her instructions from that point on.

To make a Crib size quilt - (48" x 48" square)  you will need 48 strips of fabric 2 1/2" wide x WOF

To make a Twin size quilt - (72" x 96") you will need 144 strips of fabric 2 1/2" wide x WOF

To make a Queen size quilt - (96" x 96" square) you will need 192 strips of fabric 2 1/2" wide x WOF

To make a King size quilt - (120" x 120" square) you will need 300 strips of fabric 2 1/2" wide x WOF

This truly was a very simple design and it only took a couple days to complete a crib size top.  I'm folding this up and putting it away until it gets quilted...then it will be saved for whenever, if ever, I have another grandchild.  With three more daughters left to one day hopefully marry and have children....I hope I have many more grandchildren.....in the FUTURE. :) :)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Sew, sew, sew your seams...


This blog post will jump from topic to topic....that's just how my brain is working today. LOL

Sewing, and anything sewing related is keeping me sane during these recent frigid temperatures.  At 10:30am this morning, it was only 3 degrees outside.  Our heat source just can't keep up with these cold temperatures and I find myself retreating to my sewing room because I don't feel like doing anything else.

Sometimes I just find joy in looking through my quilting books and magazines and "dreaming".  Because of the Birthday Swap Block group I joined, I've spent a lot of time the past few days looking for potential block patterns to make for future birthday ladies.

Thankfully, I can say that I DID finish SOMETHING.....all 32 of one of the block designs needed for my Tennessee Waltz quilt top is complete....whew.....

Now I just need to cut out and assemble 31 - 8 1/2" Snow Ball blocks to go along with the above blocks and then I can assemble the entire top. :) :) :)

It has been decided that this year will be a year that I focus on frugality!  Have I ever mentioned how thankful I am for the stash of fabric and everything else craft related that I have accumulated over the past 24 years of married bliss?  If it were not for the mass accumulated stash I possess...I may be feeling a tad bit depressed these days....but I'm not! :)  It's a good thing that I stuck to my guns during all those military moves we made when I fearlessly stood over my "stash" like a mother hen over her chicks and REFUSED to get rid of anything....but insisted everything be packed and moved with us. LOLOLOL  (And yes, the fact that I could possibly open my own fabric/craft store is beside the point! :) :)

I'm sure that most families are experiencing the effects of the "fiscal cliff" tax ramifications, some worse than others.  On top of that, I'm also certain that we are not the only family who is faced with a HUGE increase in our health insurance premiums.  These two items, both starting January 1st, will have a great effect on our family budget....so it's time for some creative juggling and saving for essentials....and using what I have for my personal hobby.

So my first small way of using up what I have rather than buying new....drum roll please....is to use up those odds and ends,  the half-used spools of thread to do my quilt piecing.

I'm so proud of myself....look at my empty spools thus far.  (You can probably tell by the colors of the empty spools the age of some of the thread.....old!!!!)

It's not much....but it's a start! :) :) :)

Think I'll go load the dishwasher and then go back to the sewing room....until next time!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

No Greater Compliment

I can think of no greater compliment than when you make a gift for a friend and they actually like it enough to display in their home!  I can only think of one other quilt I made for a friend that is hanging in her home.  MANY years ago, when I didn't even know how to quilt and was just learning, I made a quilt for my friend Lisa.  It was so long ago that I "tied" the quilt together...but she loved it regardless.  I was able to visit her in Ohio a couple years ago and I was truly shocked to see that the quilt was hanging on a wall in her guest bedroom.  I need to ask her to take a photo of it.  Now I take photos of everything I make so I can keep a photo memory book of my projects.

If you have been following this blog, I'm sure you remember when I made this quilt for my friend Marianne for her 45th Wedding Anniversary.

Did you notice the beautiful wood frame from which the quilt is hanging????  Would you believe that Marianne's multi-talented husband George MADE this so she could hang the quilt!!!!!!!!!!  Isn't it just beautiful!!!!

Hummm....I wonder if he's thought about starting a home business.  If anyone is interested, just let me know and I'll put a bug in his ear. :) :)

Now that I think about it...I can only think of one other quilt I made for a friend that is hanging in her home.  MANY years ago, when I didn't even know how to quilt and was just learning, I made a quilt for my friend Lisa.  It was so long ago that I "tied" the quilt together...but she loved it regardless.  I was able to visit her in Ohio a couple years ago and I was truly shocked to see that the quilt was hanging on a wall in her guest bedroom.  I need to ask her to take a photo of it to add to my collection.  In my early days of quilting, I didn't always remember to take photos of my completed projects. :(

Until next time....

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Birthday Blocks heading to Missouri

I had SO been looking forward to attending last night's quilt guild meeting.  I wasn't able to attend the December meeting and with all the snow FINALLY melting away over the weekend I was really in the mood to get out of this house.  Frustrating doesn't even begin to adequately describe how I felt when I woke up to find fresh fallen SNOW yesterday...which continued off and on throughout the day.  We had about 4 inches by lunchtime.

UUGGGGG!  I know that this wouldn't have stopped most people....but I'm not most people. :(  I'm a true Southern girl, a Tennessee Hillbilly uprooted and stuck in this foreign land called New York.  PLUS, I have an uncontrollable fear of slipping and falling on ice/snow.  What does all of this mean?  Simply put....if there is one teensy, tiny, itty, bitty, little speck of anything remotely WHITE outside....this little lady is staying home.  And yes, this means that I stay enclosed within these same four walls the majority of each year spent in this place.  If it's a good year, I may get out for good behavior from about May through September.

So, instead of going to the quilt guild meeting last night, I spent the evening in my sewing room piecing together two more Birthday blocks to be sent to a fellow quilter in Missouri.  Now I'm all caught up with the two birthday girls in January.  I have a few weeks before I need to send two more blocks to a quilter in Nevada whose birthday is mid-February.

Teresa in Missouri requested her blocks be made with Red, Blue, Tan and/or Creams.

I'm trying to use this opportunity to experiment and make new patterns....not sure how long that idea will last. LOLOL

This pattern is the Walking Star.....

This pattern is called Nelson's Victory....

Once again...the blocks where constructed using scraps in my stash.

That's it for now....I'm sure I need to go do SOMETHING to this house. :)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Two New Quilt Blocks & Dinner

Yesterday was a productive day.  Along with the routine laundry, and slightest bit of cleaning, I was able to sew together two different quilt block patterns needed to send off to a woman in New Jersey as part of a "Birthday Block Swap" I committed to participating in for 2013.

Rules are fairly simple....everyone participating must make 2 quilt blocks that are 12 1/2 inches (once the recipient sews them together the finished size is a 12" square).  We have a document with the birthdays, names, mailing addresses and recipients color requests.  We choose our own patterns.  They can both be the same design or we can make two different blocks.  Everyone tends to send different designs so that's what I did also.

The first block is called Star Checks (designer: Sue Garman from Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks)....I made a few variations to the pattern.  It originally had 56 pieces but my changes cut that number down to only 49 pieces within the 12 1/2 inch square. :)

The second block is called Star Puzzle (#87 from the Quick & Easy Block Tool)...

For the most part, I used scraps from a memory quilt I made for my friend Marianne a few months ago.  Other than the scraps, I used two fat quarters from my stash.

Had it not snowed today, I would be able to get them in the mail....but that will have to wait until tomorrow.  I sure hope Mabel in New Jersey likes them. :)

Wouldn't you know, because my birthday isn't until Dec. 20th, I am the LAST person on the Birthday Block Swap list.  Oh well....what can I do about it?  LOL

For dinner last night, I tried a new recipe using my crockpot.  It turned out to be a nice, hearty meal for a cold night.

I made "Steak San Marco" and served it over (or more like mixed with) Wide Egg Noodles and a side dish of steamed Broccoli (always have to have a vegetable or Kirsten thinks I forgot to cook half the supper).

makes 4 - 6 servings
used a 4-quart slow cooker

2 lbs. stewing meat, cubed
1.25-oz. envelope dry onion soup mix
29-oz. can peeled or crushed tomatoes
1 tsp. dried oregano
Garlic powder to taste
2 Tbsp. canola oil
2 Tbsp. wine vinegar (didn't have this so I used Rice vinegar :)

1. Layer meat evenly in bottom of slow cooker.
2. Combine soup mix, tomatoes, spices, oil, & vinegar in bowl. Pour over meat.
3. Cover and cook on high 6 hours or on low 8 to 10 hours.

It smelled heavenly throughout the day.  Kirsten and Ray said the Egg Noodles were a wise choice to serve it over (with).  I must say that although Kirsten and I ate it without adding any additional seasonings....on Ray's second helping, he did add some hot sauce to his serving.  Of course, with the noodles we didn't need any other carbs....but I thought some crusty bread would have been nice to soak up the juices. :) :) :)

I will probably make this again some day....especially on a day that I want something easy and quick, that doesn't require much time spent in the kitchen....and is a very hearty, filling, warm meal.  Because of the noodles, I have TONS of left-overs...so I will probably only plan this meal again when the rest of the family will be around to help eat it.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

TN Waltz blocks, Batman & Shrimp Fried Rice

Until I find all my other projects....I'm working on the only project I have run across so far...and that is my Tennessee Waltz quilt. :)

I need 32 of these blocks....and since the weekend I have completed 13!  Yippee!!!

I'll keep you posted on the progress. :)

After my last post in which I showed the child's Batman cape I finished as a last minute Christmas gift....I was excited to receive some photos of the child who received it (wearing it, of course!).

Batman was REALLY a common theme this year.  My youngest three daughters are Batman fanatics also.  This was what it looked like at my own house Christmas morning. :)

Too bad the photo doesn't show their Batman Boots (house shoes) with gold capes hanging from the back of the boots. LOLOL  And just in case anyone questions their ages....from left to right....20, 20 and 15 years of age. :)

After sewing on my Tennessee Waltz blocks yesterday morning, lunch time came quicker than I anticipated.  Kirsten and I both were starving and I knew I needed to feed her well since we would be heading to her basketball game at 3:30.  A girl needs fuel to play basketball!

After looking through the refrigerator and not seeing anything interesting....I spotted left-over white rice from when we had Chinese take-out a few nights ago.

Huuuummmmm.....maybe I'll make my own fried rice....so out came the Wok. :)

A dollop of olive oil and some chopped onion (my goodness...I LOVE the smell of onions cooking...SERIOUSLY!!!)

Stuck my nose in the freezer and found a small bag of frozen "salad" shrimp....into the Wok they go...

They are already cooked....so just need to heat them up so they are no longer frozen! LOL

While the shrimp is heating up....I grabbed my bag of frozen mixed veggies (I try to keep huge bags on hand to throw into soups, pot-pies, etc.).  I dumped about 2 cups of veggies in a bowl with a dollop of water and quickly microwaved them until they were crisp tender.  Then they got thrown into the Wok as well....

Sprinkled some "Accent" seasoning, pepper and a tid bit of sugar over the top......then the cold left-over white rice got thrown in the mix....

As the warms up and gets stirred into the mess.....I see that I have some packets of soy sauce left over.  There's no need to use my bottle of soy sauce when I've got these (better than throwing them away...I can't stand waste). :)

Now only one last ingredient and then my masterpiece is complete!  EGGS!  Just drop a couple in and start stirring so they cook.

Once you see the egg has cooked....it's finished!

OH MY GOODNESS.....awesome, deliciousness!!!! LOLOL

Kirsten said it tasted better than any she had ever had from a restaurant....so it must really be good if she was impressed also! :)

****The only problem (which really WON'T be a problem)....is I now have tons of left-over Shrimp Fried Rice made from left-overs! LOLOLOLOL

Friday, January 11, 2013

More Christmas Gifts Made

Christmas 2012 turned out to be the year for pillows.  I TRY to make gifts that are unique and hopefully will be special to the person(s) receiving them.  Admittedly, I'm starting to run out of ideas.

I made 5 identical pillow shams for my Dad and each of his 4 siblings using a photo of their parents (my paternal grandparents).

To continue the trend...I also made a pillow sham for my mom using a photo of her parents (my maternal grandparents).

I always find it extremely difficult to think of gifts for my in-laws....but since I was on a roll...I decided to make two pillow shams.  Both photos are recent....one was taken when they visited our oldest daughter and her family in Tennessee.  This was the first time they had ever met their youngest great-grandchild in person.  The other photo was taken when they visited us a few months ago and I was able to snap a picture of them with their son (my dear hubby) and our three daughters living here in New York.

I think everyone was pleased with their gifts.  If not, they didn't let me know! :) :) :)

A couple days before Christmas, my daughter Emily called and asked if I could "whip up" a Batman cape for her to give to her friend's 5 year old son.  She said it didn't need to be complicated....just something for him to put around his neck that would go with the Batman hat she had purchased already.

I searched on-line and was able to find a free superhero cape pattern that I could download and print.  Then I googled and searched for a Batman logo I could print off also.  With pattern in hand, I then had to go to the basement and search through my old fabric stash for a solid black.  I should be embarrassed to tell anyone this, (but I'm not)....believe it or not I found JUST ENOUGH solid black fabric for the cape that was actually left over from when I made my twin daughters identical Pilgrim outfits when they were about 4 or 5 years old (they are turning 21 in April!). hahahahahah

I know the little boy who was to get this cape and I knew it wouldn't be really safe to give him something that he tied around the neck....so I adjusted the pattern in order to use velcro to secure the neck.  Another search around my sewing stash unearthed enough black velcro (left over from making my boy dogs belly bands).

The last thing I needed was a small piece of gold fabric, felt, etc., to make the Batman logo.  I couldn't find anything appropriate and was beginning to panic when I looked in the corner and spotted a scrap of gold fleece (about 7" square) that was left over from when my daughter Kirsten made the fleece blankets for all the family for Christmas.  JUST WHAT I NEEDED!

I think it turned out rather cute, if I do say so myself!!! :) :)

Here's a close up of the logo....

Emily seemed to be surprised and very pleased when she came to pick it up.  I later heard that the young man who received it was beyond happy and kept it on all day, every day since Christmas.

Now it's time to get my sewing room back in order now that I no longer have house guests needing the room to sleep.

Time to get back to the many quilt projects I was working on before the holidays arrived.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Bonding Time with Kirsten

Time to play some "catch-up" with this blog.  I had to wait until after Christmas to post much of what I've been up to in order to not ruin any surprises for family members. :)

Kirsten decided that she wanted to make a few home-made gifts this year.  I'm very happy that at least ONE of my four daughters is willing to do some sort of crafting.  There's still hope...I'll just keep bugging them until I turn them all into sewaholics like myself.

Our code word was "bonding".  We couldn't tell anyone what she was making because she was trying to make everyone in the family the same thing.  Each time her grandmother called and asked what we were doing that day...our answer was always "just bonding". heeheee

Only a 15 year old girl could sit like this and actually accomplish anything!!

She decided to make 2-layer fleece blankets, 60" x 72".  It's a great project for teenagers.  You simply take two coordinating pieces of fleece, lay them "wrong sides" together, then using a rotary cutter trim fringe and tie knots to hold the two pieces together.

This project started out small...but she had so much fun that she kept adding names to her Christmas gift list.  I didn't have the heart to tell her that she was causing me to go broke purchasing the supplies each time she wanted to make more. haahaa

The gifts were a HUGE hit with everyone who received one and she was so happy with herself.  The pride she took in making the gifts was well worth the expense!!!!

She made the blue solar system for her brother-in-law Greg and the tan Air Force fighter plane for her nephew Austin.

The butterfly blanket was made for her Grandma B. and the red football blanket was made for her Grandpa B.

The tan and black bear blanket was for her uncle Tim and the red guitars was for her uncle Gene.

The purple monkey was for her niece Abbi, and the turquoise and brown trees with doves was for her aunt Debbie.

The purple and black flowers was for her sister Shannon and the turquoise winter penguins was for her nephew Liam.

She made two identical black and gold football blankets for her sisters Amanda and Emily (Pittsburgh Steeler colors) and she made a second turquoise penguin for Amanda's friend and room mate Trish.

A picture of one happy and proud young lady!