Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Switch It Up with some Embroidery

I found a project I had started last year and never finished...or as they say in the quilting world...another UFO!  I had experimented with my embroidery machine and made the 6 pink blocks...4 with different flowers, 1 with a cardinal and 1 with a birdhouse.  I pulled 4 fat quarters from my stash and cut the squares to sew into a border that surrounds each of the center embroidered blocks.

Now I need to find another fabric to use as a wider border and finish it as a baby quilt.  This one is certainly not gender's very girly.  Oh well, once it's finished, I'll put it away for a future baby shower gift most likely.

I keep my fat quarters neatly stacked in a plastic container.  After pulling out what I needed for this project, I must have forgotten to put the lid back on top.  I turned around and found a little visitor that had made herself right at home in the middle of the spoiled rotten little baby girl, Talia, a 4 pound Mi-Ki.  She is my precious little shadow and I love her to pieces!  It's hard to believe my baby is already 8 years old and will be 9 in December.  My goodness, time sure does fly....WAY TOO FAST!

I finished up all the Easter Table Runners from the other day...ended up making 6 total...and they all have homes already. :) :)  One of the six had already been taken by one of my daughters before I could even get a picture of them all together. :(  Oh can at least see five! :)

I also put together a few more blocks for another project....

My living room floor needs to be mopped this morning...but afterwards I'm sure I'll have to "rest" by retreating to my sewing oasis.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Ten Minute Table Runner - REALLY!!!

Do you want to see how to make a really cute table runner in only 10 minutes...from start to finish??

I'm not joking!!!!

First off...I must tell you that I didn't come up with this design on my own (I'm good, but not THAT good!).   I actually saw an on-line link several months ago to view a well done video showing how to do this.  It immediately was added to my "Want to try this sometime!" list.  I could simply just give you the link (which I will anyway), but I know some of you still have difficulty watching videos on your computers so I will share with you myself, through my photos and words how to do this.

First watch the video click on this link:

Now, here is my own detailed instructions.....

First you need exactly 1/3 yard of a focal fabric...I used a fun Easter themed, bigger designed piece that has Easter bunnies and eggs, etc. (on the left).

You will also need exactly 1/2 yard of a secondary fabric...that will end up being the backing and the border.  I used a darker, coordinating green with little flowers. (on the right)

You will be making a table runner that is approximately 44" long x 15" wide.

I ironed my two fabrics to remove the deep fold lines and creases (the darker green fabric I've had for YEARS and I thought the fold would never iron out...the Easter print is older also and was given to me).

Next, lay your two pieces of fabric facing each other.  The 1/2 yard piece on the bottom, with right-side facing up.  The 1/3 yard piece on the top, with right-side facing down.

I know it doesn't look like they will fit together...but trust me....this is amazing!

I scooted the top fabric down until the edge met with the edge of the bottom fabric....line everything up from one end to the other (from selvage to selvage, about 44" long)...and sew together using 1/4" seam.

After you finish that the exact same thing to the other long edge...lay your pieces back on the table and scoot the top fabric UP until the edge meets with the edge of the bottom fabric.  It will look strange...the two pieces will no longer lay flat on the table and there will be a little roll on the first edge you just sewed together.

Now that you have the edges lined up, sew down the entire length (approx. 44") of this side using a 1/4" seam.

After you finish....what you will have in your hand is a very long TUBE.  Simply turn that tube inside out!!! :)


This next step was not mentioned in the video instructions but as I was making my own table runner, I realized that it needed to be done.

After you have sewn the two long edges together (as shown above), you may notice that once you turn your tube of fabric inside out, the short edges do not meet up exactly right.  I think this will happen more than not because we are using two completely different fabrics and every piece of fabric can vary in the width (from selvage to selvage) from a tiny smidgen to an inch or two. this point, I just used my rotary cutter and an acrylic ruler to even off the short sides.

Can you tell that my focal fabric (front with bunnies) was just a tiny bit wider than my dark green problem...this is an easy fix.  Since my top fabric was the longer of the two, I flipped my project over so I could see what I was doing easier. :)

Now that everything is nice and evened up, flip the table topper back over on your work table so that your focal fabric is showing on top.

Take your hand and smooth it out so that you have equal measurements of the "border" fabric showing.  Then take it to your ironing board and iron the edges down nice and flat.

Once it's completely ironed....take it back to your work table.

Your table runner is approximately 44" long and about 15" wide.  You will simply lay your project with the focal fabric down....then fold in in the middle until the two edges meet.

Now we will sew this short end together (about 7" now that it is folded), using a 1/4" seam...

This is what it will look like when you finish this seam....

Now do the exact same thing to the opposite end.  It's already folded for you....just sew the other end together.

After both ends of your table runner are sewn together...the next step is to turn these seams inside out....

Make sure you push the corner out nice and sharp. :)

Now when you lay your runner back down, and flatten it should look like this.... table runner is completely finished and can be used at this point.  The video instructions shared that you can add decorative buttons as embellishments to anchor the corner down...or add tassels to to the end corners...or just use it as is and don't do another thing to it.

I did take it back to my ironing board and pressed the corners in place...then I decided to look through my odds & ends for something to embellish it and make it just a little cuter.

I used some felt cut into flower shapes, and sewed a little button in the center of the felt flower.  I sewed through all the layers which anchored the corner fold down so it wouldn't just "flap in the breeze". :)

This was so quick and easy that I went ahead and made a second one....

I have two more cut out to make today.  I'll give one to Amanda to use in her new home...maybe mail one to Shannon if she wants one, put one in Emily's Hope Chest for when she has her own place...Kirsten will probably tell me not to save one for her, just make her a new one when she has a need for it. :) :)  Plus, the girls have several friends who have moved into their own places this past year that keep begging me to make them things I'm sure I can find a home for whatever I get made.  All of this is out of my stash...I've not shopped for anything yet this year. :) :)

By the way....I finished ANOTHER old spool of thread....I'm on a roll.... :)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

I wouldn't complain whatsoever if I received a box of assorted quilting threads for Valentine's Day!  :) :) :)

This week I've received boxes in the mail filled with handcrafted preemie baby items to be donated through Grandma's Promise.  There's plenty of work to be done there...but I have to take breaks and do other things in between getting Angel Ensembles packaged up and ready to be delivered.  Some days it's harder than other days to work with the preemie ensembles.   This is a hard time for me, and for all I know it may last a little while.  In just a few short weeks, my grandchildren will be celebrating their 1st birthday...only it won't be here on earth with us...their party will be in Heaven.  I guess I'm just grieving the loss of what should have, could have, would have been if they were still here with us.

My sewing room helps me cope with this ache in my heart.

I've been working on a few blocks that are a part of a Block of the Month quilt top pattern....

Ooohh....I finished up another old spool of thread!  Yippee!!!

As I'm playing around with piecing these blocks together, I'm also working on constructing the quilt top from the Bonnie Hunter workshop I attended back in the summer.  All the blocks are finished...I'm now slowly but surely sewing the blocks together into rows.  There are ALOT of blocks!!!!

I wonder what it would be like if I was a quilt project at a time type quilter...instead of a 100 different projects going at the same time type of quilter.  Aaaahhhh....I can't even imagine imagination isn't that big!!! :) :) :)  I'm off to the sewing room........

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Sunday Snow-In Mystery Quilt Fun

With all the snow, my sew-in, snowed-in weekend continued into Sunday.  I stumbled upon a one day only, Mystery quilt project online and entered it.  The new quilt design company was offering it free for the day and only asked that they be allowed to use photos we supplied of our projects during and after completion to use as advertisement on their website.  I guess in a way those of us who signed up were their guinea pigs.

We were provided the fabric requirements so we could go rummage through our fabric stash.  The first option called for 8 coordinating fabrics - 1/8 yd each and 2 more coordinating fabrics 1/6 yd each.  Or if you didn't want or have as much variety, the second option called for 4 coordinating fabrics 1/4 yd each with 1 additional fabric 1/3 yd.

I decided to pull from my stash of Civil War reproductions.   As the other ladies started posting pictures of their fabric choices, I started to worry a bit.  Of course, I didn't expect anyone to use the same fabrics, but my choices where so traditional (and tame) compared to all the others.

Clue #1 was released at 10:00am.  It was the directions for cutting.  I had pulled out Fat Quarters, so I had to double the cutting required to compensate for the fact that I wasn't using WOF (width of fabric) cuts.

Clue #2 was released at 12:00 noon.  All it involved was favorite part.

After I posted the above picture to the group, there were many compliments on my Singer Featherweight. I introduced the other ladies to Ruthie, my 1947 model.

Clue #3 was released at 2:00pm.  This time we had to sub-cut into squares what we had sewn together earlier.

Clue #4 - the Final Clue was released at 4:00pm.  We were provided a diagram of the layout for our blocks and instructed to sew everything together.

I'm quite pleased with my Mystery project.  It ended up being a 16 1/2" x 32 1/2" Table Topper.  Everyone ended up with 4 extra pieced blocks and one of the other participants suggested that they would make cute coasters to go with the table runner.

What I enjoy most about Mystery projects is seeing the end result of other participants.  I'm always amazed at how the exact same pattern instructions end up looking like entirely different things based simply on our fabric choices.

Here are some pictures of the other ladies finished projects.....

Made by Teresa
Made by Kristi
Made by Hollie
Made by Debra.
She decided to make more blocks and rearrange them to make a lap quilt.
Made by Chrissy.
Once she saw how cute her fabric choices turned out,
she decided to make more blocks and make a baby quilt since
she needed a baby shower gift in the near future.
She did stay with the designers intended placement of the blocks,
just an expanded version.  Of course, then she added two
borders to make it a perfect size.
So that's how I spent my cold, snowed in Sunday this past weekend.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Autumn Shoo Fly

What do you plan to do when a huge snow storm is heading your way?  You SEW!  This plan works as long as you don't lose electricity and thank goodness we didn't lose power this time.

The storm arrived Friday afternoon and continued through Saturday evening for us.  We got off pretty easy compared to those in the New England area.  We ended up with about 10 - 12 inches.  (Taller than most of my doggies!)

As I was looking through old quilting magazines, I ran across a pattern that I had dog-eared...something I hoped to make one day.  The magazine was a McCall's Quick Quilting from 2010.

I looked through my stash of fabrics to see if I had something that would work.

I think the directions called for 36 strips of different coordinating fabrics that were cut 2 1/2" wide.  I must say that Jelly Rolls (pre-cut strips) are wonderful (as long as you don't pay any where near full price for them that is....and you know me....that "ain't gonna happen". LOL  In all honesty, the massive amount of cutting involved during quilting is hard on my back, shoulder and whenever possible, using pre-cuts is a tremendous help for me.

All of those beautiful strips, paired with one other fabric resulted in this....

I just love the colors and think it turned out gorgeous!  It is 60" square, which would be considered lap size.  I'm seriously considering enlarging it to a bed size.  If I do, I thought that maybe I would repeat the Shoo Fly block design, maybe in a 10" size block and make enough to assemble a border around the entire quilt.  Then, if more length or width is needed, I can just add a simple border around the smaller border of Shoo Fly blocks.

Until I decide, for now it has been neatly pressed and is hanging in my closet of quilt tops needing that final stage of actual quilting to complete them.

This project kept me busy Friday and Saturday....just wait until you hear what I did yesterday (Sunday).  That will have to wait on the next blog post.

Happy Sewing!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Birthday Blocks going to Australia!

Only two ladies in our Birthday Block swap group have February birthdays. Chris's birthday is not until February 28, but since she lives in Australia, I need to get these in the mail much earlier than I normally would.

Chris's fabric color choices are black, grey, red, and white.

This first block is a Bonnie Hunter pattern called Ceiling Fan.  Her directions made an 8 1/2" unfinished block so I just did the math and enlarged my pieces to make the needed 12 1/2" unfinished block.

The second block pattern is called Buzz Saw....

I don't recall ever working much with this color combination (if at all) and I find it very striking.  In fact, I like it so much, and it's so different from colors I've ever used...I may just start making an extra odd block in these colors for myself as I experiment and make new block patterns.

We had a big snow storm yesterday and during the night, and it's still snowing.  It's Saturday and I think I'm going to treat myself to a "sew-in weekend". :)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Production Line Sewing & Other Stuff

It certainly has been busy in my sewing room the past couple of days.  I've been working on a couple more Birthday Swap Blocks (will share in a future post)...and there's several different quilt projects in the works...but all that came to a grinding halt for something else more important.

Most of you are aware of my little side project called Grandma's Promise (supplying Angel/Bereavement Ensembles to hospital NICU's, etc) fact, some of you that keep up with this blog are big contributors to Grandma's Promise by sewing and crocheting the items we need.

Last Wednesday I made a trip to a hospital here in New York to deliver 30 complete ensembles.  Then on Thursday (not even 24 hours later) I received a call from a second hospital in New York.  Someone from the first hospital had called someone at the second hospital and told them what a wonderful service Grandma's Promise is providing to families who suffer the loss of a pre-term infant.  This second hospital asked if we could start donating to them also.  Then the next day (Friday), I received an e-mail from a hospital in Tennessee who had received a previous donation from us.  They wanted to let us know that their supply is running low and they are in need of more ensembles.

So I am busy...along with all of the other little elves that craft for Grandma's Promise. :)

Currently I am sewing up preemie gowns, assembly line fashion. :)  Still have many more to go....

While I was cleaning off a spot to start cutting out the gowns to sew...I saw one little project that I needed to do (it took all of 3 minutes) before I accidentally tossed away what I needed.

Remember the Scrappy Trip Around the World crib quilt top I showed you a few posts ago?

Well, I took the scraps from this quilt and made another Christmas Ornament to store along with the quilt (once I finish the quilting part of it).  I've always given each of my children and grandchildren a new Christmas ornament each year...just a tradition I started and now can't stop! :)  So, since I plan to keep this quilt to give to a future grandchild...I will now have that future baby's "First Christmas" Ornament from Grandma. :) :)  I'll just wait and write the name and year on the ornament when the time comes.

One last thing....when I made the delivery of the Angel Ensembles last week to the of the nurses that had heard about us, brought a few bags of her scrap fabrics left over from numerous projects.  She said that most of the fabric wouldn't be appropriate to actually use for Grandma's Promise items, but she wanted to give it all to me anyway.

Just look!

I've got things to do see you later! :)

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Birthday Blocks going to Nevada!

Another birthday is coming up for someone in my Birthday Block Swap group.  She asked for her block colors to be in Hunter greens, all purples and creams.

Time to experiment making a couple new block designs.

Hummm...maybe I should be explaining how to make all of these blocks in case someone wants to learn along with me.   If I did that, you could learn to assemble new blocks using your own color choices and by the end of the year have enough blocks to assemble a bed size sampler quilt top of your very own.  If so...let me know.  Just send an e-mail to or to my personal email address for those of you who have that already.

This first block was really easy to put's called "Tic Tac Toe"....

The second block was a tad bit more involved but was fun nonetheless.  I just had to sit and think about it a few times during assembly to make sure I had each piece turned in the right direction. :)

It's called...."Cross Keys"...

These two lovelies are now on their way to Nevada.

On a side you remember when I mentioned that I'm being very frugal this year and one of my "money saving" decisions is to use up old, half-used spools of thread as I sew.  Well...I finished off another spool of thread.  This one has to be really old...just look at the price!!!! LOLOL

35 CENTS!!!!  Can you believe it?!?!?  Oh well...I feel good about emptying another is being tossed into my big can of empty spools that will eventually be used for crafts...or go to my baby brother who uses them in the construction of his numerous, weird "inventions". LOLOLOL