Sunday, June 29, 2014

Bias Binding and Cutting Into a Project

Okay friends, I need some input here. I need to determine where I should make my cut for the opening of my tree skirt. There are 2 different options that are shown in the diagram below. I'm leaning toward option 1 because of the quilting that is done and because it's a shorter distance, but option 2 goes along the seams of the individual blocks. I've never cut into the middle of a project before so I'm not sure if that matters or not.

I've also never done a biased binding before so that should be interesting. Since just the circle opening needs to be on the bias, can I cut that portion just on the bias and then have the rest of the binding be standard? Or will that cause problems of rippling once I wash it? Just trying to figure out how to maximize cutting my binding strips.

Any input would be greatly appreciated!

Friday, June 27, 2014

When Life Gives You Hairballs...

... kick the cats to the curb. Well, that's what I want to do at the moment but I'll resist. I'm feeling rather defeated this morning. I closed the door to my sewing room last night but didn't latch it all the way and discovered that one of the cats got in there and threw up on my Christmas tree skirt that was on the sewing table.

It was all laid out with the next section under the needle, ready to be quilted this morning. I'm so close to finishing!! Of course, the furry culprit threw up in a section that hasn't been quilted yet and in a section that was red. And even though it's high quality fabric, it looks like it bleeds a bit when mixed with, um, cat puke. I've cleaned it up as best as I can without using a stain remover and washing it and it's air drying now. I feel like I have such little time to sew right now and then this happens. Grrrr....

Monday, June 23, 2014

Summertime Fun Home Remedy

Summer is in full swing here in the United States. That means spending less time at the sewing machine and more time at the pool. When I was a kid I suffered from horrific ear infections and getting water stuck in my ears would always wreak havoc on me. Back in the day we walked to school in the snow, uphill, both ways implanting tubes into ears wasn't yet practiced, although I'm sure I would have been a perfect candidate for it. Even with all the precautions I took to keep my ears dry (not going under water, wax plugs while wearing a headband) it never failed - I'd still get water in my ears, wouldn't be able to hear, and then develop an ear infection. While at the pool with my son yesterday I got water in my ears and immediately started having issues.

Desperate times called for desperate measures. I'm not sure where my mom got this home remedy (and I doubt that she invented it) but I wanted to pass along a tried and true recipe to get water out of your ears. And chances are, you have all the ingredients in your house already. All 2 of them:

The recipe is simple, mix equal parts of white vinegar with equal parts of rubbing alcohol. That's it. Not complicated. What is more complicated is how to put it in your ear! My mom always had a small bottle with an eye dropper that she used to keep it in. I had no idea where I could find something like that so I just improvised. I used a medication syringe  (it's used to administer liquid meds to small children).

Since the dosage numbers have faded, I can't use it for cough syrup, but it was perfect for this. You can request one from your local pharmacist, at no cost. As you can see, the one above came from target.

I just mixed the solution (1 tsp. of each liquid) in a small cup and used the syringe to put a few drops into my ear. Just tilt your head to the side, put enough drops in your ear to fill it, wait 30 seconds and then drain your ear onto a towel. Repeat if necessary, but you'll feel immediate results.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Free Motion Scrap Cushions

I couldn't stand the thought of just throwing out my free motion quilting practice sandwiches so I decided to make some cushions to go inside 2 baskets we use for cat beds. The cushions that were previously in them were looking a little sad.

I used 2 of my quilt sandwiches for the top and bottom and just cut a 3 inch strip of flannel to piece them both together. I just traced around the bottom of each basket, adding about a half inch for seam allowance. Nothing was precise and I just eye-balled everything.

I used the stuffing from the old cushions and each one took only about 30 minutes to make. Not bad for an impromptu project.

Now, if I could just get Oliver out of the other basket so that I can put the new cushion in!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Practice Makes Perfect, But What Now?

Whenever I want to master a new free motion quilting technique, I need to practice. So I make mini quilt sandwiches and put thread to fabric. It gives me the confidence to try it on my real projects. That's the whole point of practice, I know. But what do you do with all of those practice quilt sandwiches? Anyone? They're truly just random doodling, each with different backing fabrics, different thread, and different patterns. It's not pretty my friends, especially my earlier practicing.

I hate the thought of just throwing them away but not sure what else to do with them. Since I have a house full of cats (okay, maybe 3 doesn't make a full house but sometimes it feels like it), I thought maybe I can figure something comfy to make for them. What do you do with your practice quilt sandwiches? I'd love to get some creative ideas.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Big Box Blunder

Boy did I learn a new lesson the hard way today. I've been plugging along making my triangle quilt and I'm in the home-stretch. I decided to add some white strips in between the rows of triangles and I'm liking the end result. That was, until I noticed that I had 2 different colors of white. I bought what I thought was Kona White at a local big box store. Okay, who am I trying to protect here? I purchased it at Joann's. I like the fact that I can easily get Kona solids there and at a great price when using their 50% off coupons. My original purchase was for 1 yard but I ended up needing a bit more so I went back for another yard at a later date. I was just finishing up my quilt top yesterday when I saw that they weren't the same white!

The white on the top was my original purchase, of which 85% of my quilt is constructed with. The strip below is the more recent purchase. I'm hoping you can see in this photo that the one on top is more of an ivory color, closer to Kona Snow. I double checked my receipts and sure enough, both stated that I purchased Kona White. Will the real Kona White please stand up?

I might have just left it if I didn't have the 2 whites touching one another in places on the quilt. Given the circumstances, I went back to Joann's to show them the issue. They informed me that there was nothing they could do since I had already cut into the second fabric and that they are different because of different dye lots. SERIOUSLY??! Now don't get me wrong - I've been a knitter for 20 years and I am very aware of differing dye lots when it comes to yarn. I was NOT aware that this could be the case for fabrics. How am I just now hearing about this? Is it true or were they just blowing smoke up my @$%#?

So I ended up buying another yard, first matching it with the swatch I brought to the store. Now to rip out some sewing and repair the damage. Not my idea of fun. Having easy access to a big box store is convenient (especially when most of the quilt shops around me are 30-40 minutes away with toll roads) but after this blunder, I'll think twice before I purchase fabric from them again.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Week 2 for the New Bloggers' Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop

Week 2 is underway for the New Blogger's Blog Hop over at Plum and June. Here is this week's list of new bloggers. Be sure to check them all out!

Plum and June

Chelsea @ Patch the Giraffe
Elizabeth @ And Pins
Daisy @ Ants To Sugar
Jennifer @ Never Just Jennifer
Alice @ Blossom Quilts
Stephanie @ Late Night Quilter
Camelia @ Camelia Elliott
Nurdan @ Hug a Bit Quilts
Lori @ Sew Psychd
Kitty @ Night Quilter
Christina @ Wips and Tuts
Marcia @ Cozy Capatiller
Jasmine @ Quilt Kisses

Some Friday FMQ

I hit a bit of a roadblock with my triangle quilt this morning (I'll save that for a later post) so I decided to pull out the Christmas Tree Skirt that I pieced together a while ago and did some quilting on it. I Didn't get too much done on it but enough to share some progress.

I still need to figure out how I'm going to quilt the rest of it. I'm pretty sure feathers will come into play somewhere (probably the red areas) but not sure what to do in the tree fabric. I love that fabric and I don't want the pattern to get lost with whatever I quilt over it.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Coasting For Kids

Hello All!
Sorry, this won't be my typical quilting post. No, I'm on a mission. Today my entire family is helping to raise money and awareness for an amazing organization called Give Kids the World. It is a 70-acre, non-profit resort in Central Florida that creates magical memories for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. GKTW provides accommodations at its whimsical resort, donated attractions tickets, meals and more for a weeklong, cost-free fantasy vacation.

I have the honor of volunteering at this magical place and I can't begin to tell you what a difference this place makes to the lives of so many families. Every week they have a surprise birthday celebration, Pirates and Princess night (complete with Disney Princesses of course!), a life-size Candy Land game, and they even celebrate Halloween and Christmas! Just seeing the look on the kids' faces when they see it snowing in Central Florida with Santa coming to bring presents is almost as amazing as seeing the various Universal Orlando characters handing out candy at their weekly Halloween bash.

Hanging out with Curious George at the Halloween Bash

So today my family is in Sandusky Ohio at Cedar Point amusement park to help out with GKTW's annual fundraiser, Coasting for Kids. Cedar Fair amusement parks is hosting the event at all eleven of their theme parks today. My husband and I will be manning the tent on the Cedar Point midway telling people about this amazing organization, all the while, coaster enthusiasts will be riding roller coasters for as long as they can that day to raise money for such a wonderful charity.

If you feel so inclined to donate, you can visit our family's page by clicking on the icon below. Likewise, since most of my readers are quilters, they are always in need of hand-made wish pillows that are given to the children during their visit.

We may have our own struggles with a child with autism, but every time I volunteer I am reminded of how lucky I am that my child is healthy. It makes me hug him that much tighter when I tuck him in at night.

Thanks and have a great Sunday! I'll be back later this week with more quilty goodness.

Friday, June 06, 2014

Unexpected Inspiration

You never know where you'll be when you see something that inspires you. While spending an evening at SeaWorld last week, I happened to look down and noticed the pattern on a nearby walkway.

I don't know about you, but I see one of my favorite free motion quilting patterns!

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Kickoff for the 2014 New Quilt Blogger's Blog Hop!

Plum and June

I am so excited! Today is the start of the 2014 New Quilt Blogger's Blog Hop hosted by Beth from Plum and June so if you're dropping for the first time, welcome! Sit and stay awhile.

First let me tell you a bit about myself. I'm a former theatre professional who has dabbled in fiber crafts for over 20 years. My original love was knitting but I always wanted a handmade quilt. It never occurred to me to make it myself until a few years ago. Silly, I know. That is when my love of fabric and quilting took hold.

Getting a late start on quilting, I have a lot of catching up to do and every new quilt project is a learning experience. You'll always see the good, the bad, and the ugly on this blog. And even some tips and tricks along the way, like this one on how to keep your bobbin thread from unraveling.

There are so many aspects of quilting that appeal to me. It's very precise (unless you're improv piecing), there are multiple ways to construct the same thing, and it satisfies my need to be creative. My favorite aspect of quilting is color. Of course, it's what I struggle with most. When making projects that aren't part of a complete kit, picking out fabrics and colors are my biggest challenge. What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of quilting? Is it in the construction or the design? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

And don't forget to check out all of the other amazing new quilt bloggers participating in today's blog hop:

Jana @ Jana Machado

Last Minute Teacher Gifts

Tomorrow is the last day of school for my little guy. It comes as no surprise, I've had it on the calendar since last September. Why I am running around like crazy this afternoon to come up with some end-of-the-year teacher gifts is beyond me. I just never put 2 and 2 together (just another reason why math is not my strong suit).  Lucky for me, I had a few crafty items stashed away. A modern looking mug rug paired with a gift card to Dunkin Donuts fits the bill perfectly. The knitted gift card holder is a quick project and can be used with scrap yarn. Makes a gift card look so much more special, I think.

Dodged a bullet on this one. Whew!