Friday, November 30, 2012

Doing it...MY way.

In all my times as a quilter, I have never enjoyed teensy, tinsy applique.  For one, it's tedious to do.  And, for another, it's so hard to get something perfectly sewn.  Now, I am not a perfectionist, by any means, and what I am about to show you will testify to that.  But, I do want what I am making to look as good as possible.  I love a crisp corner and a sharp point.  I thrill at a perfectly round circle.  So, in the case of itty-bitty sewing, I've made a compromise.

This is one of the few times I am going to willingly show you where something didn't turn out quite right...and this is because I've re-done the entire block.  If you'll notice the carrot nose in this one, it's kind of lumpy and the tip isn't a nice sharp point...and you can see my pencil marks...right then.  Not amazing.

What it is now.  I have decided, since this quilt is a wall-hanging and won't be used for snuggling and keeping warm and won't be washed, that felt is just fine.  As you can see, you can cut out a piece of felt and it won't fray.  I didn't even take the time to do a blanket stitch around the edge, I just took some matching thread and tacked the felt piece in place with a few well-placed cross stitches.  So easy.  So quick...and it looks sharp.

Here's another bit on my original that I am exceedingly displeased with...spots like this glove where you have a concave curve.  It sharply turns up after the curve and there is no way to appropriately sew that down with applique.  So, you have to kind of use little stitches around the curve and hope nobody looks too closely.

Here they are, side by side.  My new one which is iron-on transfer, tacked on using a blanket stitch and using felt for the small bits, and my original which is 100% applique.  I could have iron-on transferred the small pieces on the new one and gotten the crisp look I wanted, but I didn't want to blanket stitch around them all.  The felt, really is me being exceedingly lazy.  But, I want to enjoy my crafting, so I knew that sewing around every coal eye and button and carrot nose would make me crazy.  For the safety of my family, felt was the right choice.

I hope you'll agree, my new one is much better than my original. 

So, moral of the story...if you hate something, don't do it.  Change it to suit your pleasure.

Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

p.s. Women love jewelery

So, if you've got some women or girls in your life who need a present...maybe in the next month or so...then let me recommend you to the lovely Natalie from Northshore Days.  Not meaning to brag or anything...but I happen to be her friend.  That's right.  She lives in New Zealand and has about the cutest kids you can on top of all that she's freaking amazing at making beautiful jewelery.

Pssstt...I have a secret.  A package just came in the mail for me...from New Zealand...wanna see...

Don't you love it when you get something and it's packaged pretty.  It just makes it so much fun to open up...

She is seriously a genius.  I told her my girls love purple and pink.  My Youngest...only LOVES unicorns.  How cute is this pendent?

And my Oldest LOVES ice cream.  They have been telling everyone we see that they got a present from a lady across the oceans!!! 

And look at mine...sigh...  So pretty.  I love the combination of beads that she chose and the shell is so beautiful.  The craftsmanship is excellent!

Let me show you these beauties in action...

And yes...this is my family in action.  This is a typical lazy day.  Hair's not done.  Face Paint smeared from the previous day's fun.  A stick.  Gotta have a stick for some serious play.  And now add to it beautiful jewelery!

If you're like me, you're into the layered bracelet look.  So this is the two I got from Nat plus one of my own.  Pretty freaking gorgeous!!

Thanks Nat!!!!  Love ya!!!


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Stevie Nicks....Chrissie Hynde...Patti Smith...Blondie

***After you've read this post, please check out Serenity Now with Grace Grits and Gardening over at Inspiration Cafe.  I enjoy pilates, but have never gotten into yoga...I may just have to after this.***

I am a child of the 70's...but just I was born at the end of the decade.  But, even though I can barely lay claim to the 70's, the music of the 70's laid claim to me.  I grew up listening to Fleetwood Mac, The Moody Blues, Neil Diamond, 3 Dog Night, and David Bowie.  The 80's music never suited my style because of what I was jamming out to in utero.  Thanks Dad for rocking the vinyl even to this day.

I was the lucky winner of one of Hawthorne Threads giveaways!  Imagine my thrill and delight when I read their weekly newsletter and there was my name, having won a fat quarter bundle of Pat Bravo's Rock N Romance fabric.  Be still my heart!  

It came in the mail today....oh yeah, all that!

The package opened  and all of a sudden my head was filled with...

"Because the night belongs to lovers
Because the night belongs to lust
Because the night belongs to lovers
Because the night belongs to us"


"You can go your own way!
Go your own way"


"Gonna use my arms
Gonna use my legs
Gonna use my style
Gonna use my sidestep   *****for the record I've always thought it was use my sassy...sidestep makes more sense*****
Gonna use my fingers
Gonna use my, my, my imaginations

'Cause I gonna make you see
There's nobody else here
No one like me
I'm special so special
I gotta have some of your attention give it to me!"

Oh yeah, baby.  If I had been 13 or so during this decade, I can just see me now...rocking my flared denim, a sweet floral print shirt (not unlike some of the prints in this collection), Farrah Fawcett hair while watching "Little House on the Prairie" and rocking out with my vinyl or 8 Tracks to any of the music listed above.

Alas, I grew up in the 80's so I rocked neon...jelly shoes...BIG BANGS...and I rolled the cuffs of my jeans....and my t-shirts...cassette tapes...and Growing Pains.

So, I am going to embrace the decade of my birth and make something seriously far out using this gorgeous fabric...can you dig it?

And I can't wait.  There's something refreshing about the color pallet Pat Bravo chose.  It's mellow....yet cool...totally retro...and yet modern at the same time...and completely different from what I've got in my fabric collection.

Thanks for reading and thank you so much to Hawthorne Threads...without a doubt my favorite, go-to site for amazing fabric.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012


swoon quilt

Love.  Swoon has been such a fun quilt to make.  Once I got it figured out, it was fairly painless to construct it.   The best part about this quilt, was I used fabrics I had completely on hand.  I didn't buy a single fabric specifically for it.  Now that's a good thing.  It was also fun to hand quilt it.  I really got to enjoy the pattern and cute fabrics I chose.

I left you hanging about what binding fabric I was going to choose.  Well, there you go.  I went with the grey with aqua dots.  It was such a close call between this one and the golden rod...but I didn't want the binding to take anything away from the beautiful pattern.  So I went with understated.  Plus, it is going in my bedroom and I want peaceful colors there...mostly....unless you look at the quilt which is very bright....never mind what I said about understated.  I hate understated.

One of the reasons this quilt took so long...I decided to add several borders to the quilt, all mitered.  I like the look, but dang, this added to the time it took to finish it.  I probably won't be inspired to add four mitered borders on a quilt again in my lifetime.  The reason I added these was the quilt wouldn't have fit my queen bed otherwise.  Even as it's a pretty close call.  I had meant to add one more in white...but...I had had it by this point.

Obviously it's pretty cozy for a kid sick with croup.  Poor thing.

Ooops!!  Too much messing around by Mama.  Sorry kiddo, go back to sleep.

So happy it's finally in place.  Completed and ready to keep us warm all winter.

Thanks for reading!


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Napkins for the Feast

cloth napkins pocket
Something I love about holidays, is the chance to class things up a bit, just for one day.  Fresh flowers decorating the front room, new soap in the bathrooms, specifically made for whatever holiday you're celebrating, your finest silver and china on display.  So, what's the next step in classing things up...cloth napkins.

Now, I could buy cloth napkins, but that is so not me.  So, of course I am going to make them myself.  I wanted them to be a bit fun and have a splash of color to add some festiveness.  I thought, how much fun would it be to make a silverware pocket on the napkin itself.  So, that's what I did...

I did a bit of research on how big a formal cloth napkin should be.  They are approximately 20 inches by 20 inches.  That is seriously huge.  So, I battled.  My need to be classy with my need to not use a hundred yards of fabric.  I met somewhere in the middle.

Supplies needed for Feast Napkins...

1. Enough white cotton and enough patterned cotton for as many napkins as you want to make.  I can get 9 napkins, measured 13 x 13 in a yard of white fabric.  So if you only need to make 9 napkins, you would need 1 yard of white and 1 yard of patterned fabric.

2.  A selection of jewel-toned fabric cut in 1/4" lengths.  Whatever colors you like.  I have magenta, plum, deep turquoise, pumpkin orange and lime green.

 Measure out your cutlery.  As you can see, mine came to 3 inches wide.  So, I cut my jewel-toned fabric 3.5 inches by 4.5 inches.

Then, fold each side over approximately 1/4".  This is something I just eye-balled, but you can be more accurate.  Iron it down so that the seem holds the crease.

 Do a scant stitch across the top of the pocket. 

 Now, to get your pocket to line up evenly, I drew a line 2" from the bottom of the 13 x 13 inch square of white fabric with an erasable pen.  Then I drew a line straight down in the middle of the white fabric.

Draw a line straight down your pocket, directly in the middle.  Now line things up.  Put the bottom of the pocket on the line that goes across.  Make sure the line down the middle of the pocket lines up at the top and the bottom.  Pin it down. 

Starting at the top, stitch a scant seam around the remaining 3 un-sewn sides of the pocket.  Make sure you've got your seam allowance tucked behind the pocket.  Backstitch at the beginning and the end.

Take your back piece of fabric, and lay it on the white fabric.  Front sides together.  Pin securely all the way around.

You are going to leave an unsewn space of about 3".  The reason for this is because you need to flip your napkin right side out.  So, to mark where I am going to leave the gap, I just do an X with pins.  I start at one X and sew all the way around and stop at the 2nd X.  Make sure to backspace at the beginning and end so you don't rip out stitches.

Sew around the edges using a 1/4" seam allowance.

Flip it inside out.  Make sure to poke out your corners. Now, Press the seams, making sure to press the unsewn space with the seams like you want them to look.  Do a scant stitch around the entire edge of the napkin.  This does two things, it gives you a decorative edge of stitching, but it also closes up the space that's left.

Done.  If you think this looks like too much work, don't worry, it's actually a seriously quick project.  Once you get going, you'll be surprised how quickly you get these completed.

See how nicely they fit.  See how even the lines are on your pocket!!

Get creative.  I tied my napkins with a gold ribbon, placed them on top of the plates and called them gorgeous.

Try cloth napkins this year...classy!  Big time.

Shared here:


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Taco Soup Baby...

If you're somewhere November's supposed to be...not 70 degrees.

taco soup

Really, this couldn't be easier.  It's a one pot dish and my kids both really enjoy it.  So, if you maybe have picky kids....I'm not saying My Youngest is a picky, that's exactly what I'm saying.  She struggles to eat chili, but will gobble this right up.  So give this a try next time you want to make soup.

Let me just say, in advance that I'm not giving all ingredients in exact measurements.  For me, cooking oftentimes is using what I've got on hand.  I may not always have something.  So, if you don't want to go to the store...improvise.  It's really easy to do with soup.  And, just pay attention to it.  If you don't think it looks like it has enough liquid.  Add some water or more tomatoes.  Also, taste it.  Decide if it tastes good. 

1.5 lbs ground beef
1 onion, diced
1 package corn
1 64 oz. bottle V8...or bottled tomatoes of a different variety
1 can crushed tomatoes
3 or 4 cans canned beans, drained
2 packages taco seasoning

Saute the onion in medium saucepan until softened.  Add the ground beef and cook until browned.  Season with salt and pepper.

Add the tomatoes, corn, beans and taco seasoning.  Bring to a boil, then let simmer for a couple of hours...if you have the time.  If not, it doesn't need a couple of hours but the flavor sure gets better.

When you serve, make sure you have shredded cheese, maybe some sour cream and Frito's or corn chips.  Delicious!  Corn bread makes a great side dish for this one.

My Youngest was a Rainbow Butterfly Princess.  She came up with this all on her own.  I did the face paint.  Love her creativity. She is such a girly girl.

My Oldest putting on her "brave" face.  She is my drama queen.  We had her sleep in braids so she'd have curly hair.  Looks so pretty in that dark teal dress.  The real reason she wanted to be Merida from because of the bow and arrow set that I let her have with it.  Now we know the truth. 

Thanks for reading everyone!


Monday, November 5, 2012

Sometimes it just works out....perfectly!

turkey thanksgiving pillow

In an effort to make some Thanksgiving pillows for my house this season...I had to dig deep.  I didn't know what I wanted, except that I wanted to use buttons somewhere on it.  I had a sort of vague idea that the pile of blue buttons I had could be the sky.  That's the beginning...

I made a quick sketch...and from that sketch it all came together.  I decided to go with iron on transfer for ease of sewing.  Quick and painless.  I also knew that I wanted to use burlap and some faux leather...aka we've actually got something...put it all together...

1. Cut burlap into rough shape of hay bale.

2.  Cut all your shapes using iron on transfer.  With the pleather, I found that I could use the iron on transfer at the beginning, so on the back of the fabric.  But, hear me now.  Do not try and iron the pleather onto your risk messing the heck out of your iron.  And it won't stick.  I may have tried.  But, the reason I tell you to do it on the back of your pleather, is so you can cut out the shape perfect!

 3.  See, just pin it down.  Then iron around the pleather.

 4.  Arrange your tail feathers as you like.  Do this on your ironing board so you don't have to juggle this over to the ironing board and then have to reassemble them.

5.  Iron everything down...making sure to be cautious of the pleather then stitch around everything with your sewing machine.

6.  Aaaaahhhh!!!  Stitch on button eyes.  If you're like me, you will stab them with pins to know approximately where you would like them placed.  Disturbing, I know.

7.  Sew on a 1.25" teal border.  Around that stitch a large white fit the size of your pillow of course.  I have 20 x 20 inch my finished front was 22 x 22 inches.

8.  I gave mine some much needed wheat stalks on either side to balance out the button heavy top.  And did little cross stitch embroidered stalks.  Back stitched the turkey legs on with orange.

9.  Sew on buttons til your heart's content.  This, captain obvious, is the back of my piece.  I wanted to show you that I individually sewed on each button.  I did this for a reason...I find that sometimes when you stretch thread from one spot to another, it tugs and pulls the fabric and then you have a crease or a divot...or other unpleasantries.  So, stitch on a button, tie it off and snip your thread.  Begin again.

10.  The back.  I used my Pocket Pillow tutorial and it worked very well thank you very much.  Cute backside fabric, huh?

Make two.  Or as many as you want.  So cute.  I have to say that I am extremely pleased with how this turned out.  Sometimes you think something in your brain...and you work on it...and what was in your mind definitely wasn't what turned out in real life.  This case really turned out so cute.  I am in love.  My vision brought to reality.

Thanks for reading!  Oh, and check out my homey Danni over at Silo Hill Farm, she's helping out with a contest over at the Crafty Cornucopia.  This week it's all about...buttons.  That's right.  I think next week is all about burlap.  Clearly I can enter twice...maybe..I will have to read the rules again.  Maybe I'll just have Danni tell me if I can enter one project twice....stay tuned.   Hope you like my button Thanksgiving pillow.  I am thrilled with it.

Thanks for reading!! 

3 Goals for this month are:
1.  Finish Christmas wall hanging.  Won't get to Thanksgiving one this year...and that's okay.
2.  Enjoy more time with my family.  Tis the Season after all
3.  Finish binding on Swoon quilt


Sharing the Goodness at these fine sites:
 aka the reason I made this pillow in the first place!!

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