Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Holiday Season

It's been almost a month since I have written anything or posted pictures of my projects. This is the time of year that my depression really kicks in worse than any other time of the year. This year I have tried to do everything in my power to not go into such a deep depression as in years past. I have been trying to keep busy doing something, anything.

 I made Christmas ornaments this year.
These photos don't do them any justice. They really turned out a lot cuter. I use toilet paper tubes to hold the ornaments after I paint them and I use soda bottle caps to hold the flat painted items off the surface of the table. Here is the link for the cute little Santa stars only I used wood cutouts instead of the heavy plaster ones. Star Santa Ornament and the Snowman ornament Textured Glass Snowman Ornaments . I also made some cute little glitter and mod podge bluebirds from some little wood cut outs I bought last year.

I also made some presents for my grand children. I found these cute I spy bags online and decided to make 4 of them. Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures of them. They really did turn out cute. This is the link where I found the original idea HomeSpunThreads: Eye Spy Bag Tutorial (a year in the making)

Here are the cute alphabet letters I made for the girls. I also made a small bag to put the letters in. I saw these on Etsy ranging in price from $25 to $40. Just type in "fabric alphabet." If you're not to sure you can do them yourself.  I found they were pretty easy to make. I used my word perfect program to find the type of alphabet I wanted and enlarged them to the size I thought they should be. I used fat quarters that I had on hand and ironed on fleece between the layers before sewing and cutting out. I also used a fat quarter to make the bag.

I got all my presents wrapped and mailed out yesterday. At least this year I got everything sent out to their appointed destinations in time for Christmas.

I realize it's probably early, but I am already starting to look for new Christmas ornament ideas for next year. Thank goodness for Pintrest, a place I can locate all the ideas I find and can located them in one place.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Decluttering My House and My Life

I saw this website a couple of weeks ago that said "40 days 40 bags". It was an older post about a woman decluttering her house during Lent. Well, I know this isn't Lent, but it is the Holiday Season with Thanksgiving just a few days away and  Christmas just around the corner. Now I'm not nearly as enthusiastic as that woman was, but I am eager to get rid of a bunch of stuff that is cluttering up my house, my closets and my life.

I love crafts and doing them. I love to knit, crochet, sew and paint. I just love doing fun stuff. But I have found that I seem to have yarn, paint, fabric and scrap booking stuff all over the house stuffed in a closet, foot stool, cedar chest or storage boxes. I have sewing patterns that are over 20 years old and now to small for me or my daughters who have grown up. I have magazines that are almost as old and books that I never use anymore.

A couple of years ago I went through some of my craft and quilt magazines and gave some of them to my DIL and my niece. A couple of months ago when my DIL and son were here I gave her one big box of fabric and a small one with Threads magazines in it and I still don't know what to do with the ZigZag magazines and Sew Beautiful. I still have my school stuff from taking facial and nail classes. Plus I have a year or two worth of Nails magazines.

Today I cleaned out the cedar chest of all my yarn, various loose pieces and a couple of UFO's that I have had for twenty some odd years and never finished. This stuff is in my trunk to be donated to charity tomorrow.  I did however keep all my knitting needles and crochet hooks. That's a small investment over time and I might still want to work on a project or two now and again.

My main problem is I enjoy doing all this stuff and just don't seem to have enough hours in the day to be able to do all them. So I end up with projects half started or not quite finished and have lost all interest in finishing it like this really pretty purple afghan that I started 6 years ago. It's just shy the size of being lap size, but my dog Sadie has found she likes it.

Two years ago I wanted to make doll clothes and sell them. I have bunches of patterns, the dolls to fit them to, the fabric but inclination to do it. I am gradually selling off the dolls and keeping a few to give to granddaughters. They aren't really old enough yet to want to keep the clothes on the dolls. So I will keep the patterns for now and in a couple of years I can make clothes for their dolls. I remember my grandmother making me Barbie doll dresses out of the scraps from her ball gowns.

I have all kind of zippers, buttons, snaps, ribbon. A very good collection from 30 or more years of sewing and crafting. Wow, I am getting way off track tonight.  I still have closets and dressers to go through to clean out clothes I can't or won't wear anymore. I don't have a big shoe collection anymore. I got rid of most of those when I stopped working and having to be dressed up all the time. I know it's going to take me awhile to "Cleanse" my house, but it will be well worth it. I have found that I really liked making the couple of quilts I have made. I plan on just concentrating on doing those and maybe some small quilts to hang up or place mats.

Then maybe I will have some small control over the chaos that has taken over my house.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Tylers Quilt

It's finished! I was beginning to think I wasn't going to have it done in time for Christmas. I have worked really hard on this. I should have taken a better picture of the border and binding. I added my own special touch to the binding. Originally when the binding was cut it was also cut from the same fabric as the border and therefore wouldn't would show up very well. I just happen to have some extra fabric leftover from the backing so I cut it up and used it kind of like putting piping on but without the cording. I hand stitched the binding.

I had quite a bit of extra fabric and squares leftover that I decided to make two pillow case covers to match the quilt.

If I have to say so myself, I do believe I did a pretty good job for my first big quilt.

I have other projects in the works. Time to get them finished in time to send out for Christmas. I also got a new toy that I will blog about next time.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Busy Busy Busy

I've been really busy the last few days working on Tyler's quilt and getting ready for Christmas. I have actually finished quilting the quilt and the borders. I decided to stipple the borders. Now all I have to do is trim the quilt and put the border on. I am thinking of doing a dual colored binding. I saw it on a board in pinterest and I think it will solve my dilemma of the border and the binding being the same fabric.  I have enough of the backing left to put between the border and the binding, kind of like an edge or flat piping.

This is a close up of the stippling on the front

You can see the stippling better here on the back
I dont think I did half bad quilting.  I'm really excited about getting the binding put on and sending this off to my grandson. Since I will have it ready in time it will be a Christmas present for him.

These really werent that hard to make
I am in the process of making Christmas presents for both of my granddaughters. I also saw these Fabric Alphabet Letters on pinterest and went to Etsy to see about buying some. After looking at the price that some people are charging I decided just to make them myself. It only took me a little over a half a day to make the first set.  I think the girls will like them.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Quilting the Quilt

This is the corner with the border sewn on
It's been over a week since logging on here. I have had some family issues to deal with. Now that that is over I am back to sewing on Tyler's quilt. I finally finished putting all the blocks together and put the borders on. I really like the border, but I'm not a real big fan of the fabric texture. It's a little more of an open weave than should be for a quilt, but I think it will work well as the borders.

It should be noted that this is my first time quilting a "quilt". I know I just finished the Princess quilt as you go quilt. But for some reason I just dont consider that being a "real quilt" at least by my standards. My husband reminded me that I have quilted before and I reminded him that those were baby blankets. I guess I just never thought of them as small quilts, but I suppose they were. I have never quilted on a project this large before. I looked at alot of sites trying to decide what type of design to do. I finally decided to do something really simple, just follow the lines of the blocks and do stippling in the border.
This picture shows a closeup of the lines so far
I still have about 3/4's of the quilt left to quilt. I should note that I laid this out on my queen size bed and spray basted it together. It was somewhat difficult to do, but I dont have any floor space in my house large enough to tape a quilt down. Plus my floors are all carpeted and I didnt want to chance getting glue on the carpet. I can wash it out of the bedspread. I did find a site about a lady who used skirt hangers and taped the quilt to her wall, but here again all my walls have something in or on them or not quite big enough to tape a quilt.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Christmas Ornaments, Past and Present

I enjoy a colorful handmade Christmas tree. I have never really liked the plain old shiny balls that always covered our tree when growing up. After decorating it she would put angel hair on the tree, covering it from top to bottom. It's kind of pretty if you like the colored spider web look.

Years ago when I first got married we had our first live tree. My mom gave us some leftover ball ornaments for the tree. One of the first things I remember doing wall cleaning off all the chipped paint on some of the ornaments. I had seen in a magazine how to redo old glass ornaments with colored water and using shank buttons and glue to cover and seal the hole. They were pretty, but they were really heavy and had to be hung on very strong branches.

That same year I had bought the cutest set of clothespin and balsa wood ornaments that you punch out, paint and glue together. That was 37 years and two husbands ago. :) Ever since that first Christmas I have always tried to make something new to hang on the tree and sometimes to give as gifts, if they happen to be really cute. I have missed a few years in the past, but I am trying to pick it back up again.

My children are married with families of their own and I have given each of them a few of my treasured hand made ornaments. I have also started making some new ones again for my tree and some extras to send to the kids to add to their collection of handmade ornaments. Which brings me to the ornaments I am making this year.
I found the projects on Michaels project pages.

I am making the Star Santas from wood cut outs and not the ceramic stars. I think they are really cute. My other ornament this year is the Mr and Mrs Snowman faces. I found large glass balls at thrift store and thought they would be perfect for this project. When I get them finished I will post a picture of them here.

Friday, October 12, 2012

New Look

OK. I have decided to try and give my blog a more appealing look. Even though I might like purple (A LOT). It wasn't very good for a blog and trying to read. I hope the new look is a bit easier to see and read without your eyes crossing. It's really important to me try and make this blog work, if for no one else but for me. 

It's more like a journal of my life and the projects that I enjoy creating or remaking.
The other day along with the sewing accessories I had stopped at a different thrift store and as always looking for sewing related materials. Instead I found some large size gold glass Christmas balls and some ugly gold snowflakes. I intend on spray painting the snowflakes white and covering them in white glitter. The balls I have already painted them with baby blue enamel paint, two coats. I saw this idea on Michael' in their project area. I am going to paint girl and boy snowmen on them. They are so cute. Also I have some wooden stars I got last at the end of the year close out sales. I have painted them red. They will soon look like Santas. Yes, I got the same idea from Michael's project area. I think they have some good projects. 

I have two bags bags of the round wooden clothes pins. I haven't come up with anything that just jumps out and says "make me, make me". If they were flat I would make a few of the reindeer. I really enjoy making ornaments and giving them to my children and grandchildren. That way when I am long gone, they can say " I remember Mema made this" Or "ya know, Mema is up there watching us."  Yes, I can become very sentimental at times. Will post pictures when they are done.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Accessories For Sewing

While out shopping the other day I went to one of the local thrift stores that I enjoy rummaging through. I am usually looking for fabric or an old used sewing machine that I just can't do without. I just happen to find a few little sewing items. The lady said they had just put them out the day before. The best find in this picture is in the up left corner of the picture. It is a Creative Feet Satinedge foot worth about 24.95.   I can  hardly wait to find something to sew to be able to try it out. The little blue thing in the lower right hand corner is a very old needle threader. Needless to say the first time I used it the little wire broke. But that's ok because all three of the clover chalks are in good and unbroken condition. I think there might be a holder for the chalk, but just little bit of painters tape helps keep the chalk off the fingers for now.

all this for 2.75

Since we are talking accessories I just have to show off my two tackle boxes that I got from Wal Mart about ten years ago. When I bought my Viking I found out that it had "feet".  All kinds of feet. At last count I have about 25 different feet for my machine and Yes, I have used just about everyone of them on some kind of project or another. There are still one or two I would like to have but for now I am happy using the ones I have.
This is how I keep up with feet and needles for my Viking #1+

This where I keep the feet that are too big to fit in the small  box

This side is very useful for needles
I really have trouble trying to figure out how to arrange pictures and words while doing a post. As you can see I have a variety of different needles ranging from twin needles to wing needles.  

The pictures below are of the box that holds most of my sewing feet. I keep it right in front of me on a shelf within arms reach so I am able to change the feet quickly with whatever project I am working on.
The little slots in this box are a perfect fit for most of the
feet that I have.
 I have tried to place the pictures side by side but they just won't do it.  I am still finding my way around blog land.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Pie Crust Pile-Up / Tyler's Quilt

I have decided to try my hand again at making another quilt. I think I will eventually try to make one for each of my four grandchildren, then one for each of my three children if they want one.

I went to my local fabric store here in town and bought a quilt book with patterns and one pattern. I have decided to try the pattern "Pie Crust Pile-Up" Thick Crust in the twin bed size. I am currently making a conscious effort to stick with making squares for now. As I found out while making Rhea's quilt top just keeping lines going straight and having the rows come out even was a task. Of course that was a queen size top rather large I think for someone to tackle their first time out making a quilt top, which she now has in her  possession and won't let me have back.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. I went to JoAnn's on Friday to pick out fabric. I spent about an hour looking through, mixing and matching reds, and blues. The background is white. Just as I was about to leave the fabric department I saw the "bundles". Perfect. There they were three bundles of red, white and blue fabrics. After all that time hunting for the right colors and there they were all along. Next time I shop for a project I will hit the "bundles" first as I am not the best at mixing and matching colors.  I still have to purchase the fabric for the borders, binding and backing. With this being Columbus Day weekend I plan on going back to JoAnn's tomorrow and seeing what I can find and use my coupons. I used JoAnn's coupons on the fabric below and saved a pretty good bit. So with any luck I'll save good tomorrow too.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Princess Pillowcase

You can't have a quilt and not have a matching pillowcase. So, I gathered up all the scraps left over from making the princess quilt. I fiddled with it for a couple of hours and found an arrangement I could live with. I only wish that I had purchased the seafoam green fabric before I had started on the cutting and sewing of the pink fabric to the quilt.  The back of the pillowcase is what was left of the seafoam green. The pillow case blends much better. What do you think?
Princess Pillowcase

Monday, October 1, 2012

Finished Dress

Jameslee's pillowcase dress.

Jameslee and Great Aunt Terry

Was just going through a couple of posts and realized that I never posted pictures of Jameslee's dress finished.

Motivation or Lack Thereof

Today I took a few minutes to read the post of FB friend. I realized it sounded a lot like me that she was describing.  I understood what she meant about makeup not being a top priority as long as you are dressed nice and your hair looks good. She was talking about not like what she saw in the mirror. Her weight. Growing up I never had a problem with weight. I guess I was one of the lucky ones. Unfortunately that makes it even harder for me now to try and lose weight. I have a couple of medical problems that interfere with my desire to try. I have fibromyalgia and clinical depression. Recently my doctor told me he is going to test me for diabetes the next time I come to see him. So now my health is in trouble, seriously. I haven’t even told my husband, because he is the type that tries to monitor what I eat and don’t eat, if I exercise or don’t. I just don’t want him nagging at me because it won’t help. I have to decide to do this on my own.
 What do you do when you think that trying to lose weight is a lost cause? I am now 57, very overweight and take medications that don't help when one tries to lose weight.  I don’t even wear shorts anymore except at home. I wear capris, they cover me down past my knees.
Me at the Cobb County Fair Nov.'11
with the grandkids
What I need is motivation and I don’t have any. I’m not even sure how to get motivated anymore. Suggestions anyone? I live in a 55 & up community. At our local clubhouse there are numerous activities that go on where one can attend, like walk aerobics classes, three days a week and swim exercises 5 or 6 days a week. I just can’t get motivated to be up before 9:00 when the classes start. Now that’s disgusting. At less that ¼ mile and I could walk or even ride my bike, I lack to motivation or desire to go.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Woo Hoo, It's Finished

I have finally finished the quilt I was working on. I worked on it pretty steadily the last couple of weeks and now I kind of feel lost with out it being on my lap and working on it. I really enjoyed the feeling of working on the quilt knowing that it is going to one of my grand daughters.

The finished Quilt

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Pin, Pin, Pin

Pin, Pin, Pin. Did I say "pin"? When I sew I am not a pinner. When I do, I pin very sparingly, just enough to hold the fabric together. I have found while sewing this quilt that I must pin,pin,pin. It is to easy with the weight of the quilt to pull at the seams you are sewing. Then you have seams that are not even or miss a piece of fabric that should be sewn. This must be why I sew, rip and sew again. That being said. I have found it easier for my sewing machine to "under" pin my fabric sandwich. In other words pin the area that is going to be facing the feed dogs. My machine doesnt like to sew over pins, as most machines dont. So I try to pull them out just before they go under the foot of the machine. Occasionally I will miss one or two. Today is the first day that I have broken a needle hitting a pin. Of course I am using a heavy duty jeans needle as I am very hard on needles when I sew.

As you can see here I am sewing with the pins on top. With all the layers and thickness it put a lot of strain on the pins and the needle tends to hit them more and bend them. With the pins on the underneath of the fabric the pins lay straight and go between the foot and feed dogs much more smoothly.

A couple of other key points that I would like to mention about my QAYG quilt, one is to have a large flat surface around your machine. It helps to keep the quilt in the area that you are sewing. Another point is to be sure to leave at least one whole inch around your square. You need to have ease of movement when sewing your seams. I also sew a normal quarter inch seam. I tried the scant quarter inch seam and my machine just doesnt like it. The feed dogs dont seem to pull the fabric through like it should. There is one site that I visited and she quilts all the way to the edge. I had already started mine this way. So it will be the way I finish it. Maybe the next quilt I will try her way and it will be easier to put together. Her link is at the bottom of this page.

Dont quilt any closer than one inch to the edge of the quilt.
My husband made me this extra large table for my sewing machine.
I think I am going to tape the table to the machine bed as it tend to
move around a lot.

Be sure to make sure you fold back all the extra material before sewing the seams. You dont  want to have to rip out anymore seams than you have to.

The back of the quilt. I have five more rows to add to it.
It's not quite the size of a twin bed, but it will be close.

The back of my quilt has a grid pattern because I am using the same fabric for the back sashing as for the front. If you dont want the noticeable grid pattern you could use the same fabric as the backing. I only bought enough fabric for backing two years ago for the quilt and the chances of finding some that matches is very slim. Although if you happen to like the Disney Princess fabric you can find it on Ebay. I searched for the fabric just in case I happened to screw up some of the squares while making this quilt.
This is me ripping out a seam because it became all ruffled
and not a very flat seam which is what you want.

Even though I pin, pin, pin I still find that I have to rip out quite often. I like to sew fast. I have found that when I sew fast the bottom layer of fabric tends to ruffle or scrunches up. I'm not sure if that's my fault because I sew fast or if my machine needs a tune up. Probably the later as the machine is about 12 years old and has never been in for a tune up. I figure if it aint broke dont fix it. The tune up will have to wait until I am through with the quilt and a Halloween outfit that I need to make for one of my granddaughters.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Rows As You Go

  Last two weeks ago I purchased the book" Crazy short cut quilts" from Amazon. Much to my amazement It was two books in one and not in a good way. The first half was about the reincarnation of dogs and the second half was about quilts. I did send it back and got full credit for my sale. This still leaves me in a bind.

I have sewn my 40 squares into 8 strips. The first two rows went together really easy and well. Even though the blocks didnt match up exactly on point which is ok by me as this is a trial by error quilt. Yesterday I put on the third row. The first blocks meet pretty good. It's the rest of the row that is way out of whack. I will take it off today and see if I can get it to match a little better.

What I think is happening is the bottom of the square is the weft weave and is stretching and the strips I cut are on the straight of the grain and are not stretching which leaves the sewn edge with a wavy border to try and work in to a nice straight and unpuckered seam.  What I find is really strange are the blocks on the back meet up pretty well. It's the top blocks, the not so square ones are the ones that are being bad.
Now is when I wish that book hadnt been all screwed up. I will probably reorder it in a couple of days. Unfortunately I am unable to find it at my local library.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Quilt As You Go

My first attempt at quilting. I bought this fabric a couple of years ago that was meant to be made into a quilt for one of my granddaughters. It got put up and that was the last I saw of it until a couple of weeks ago.
The Disney Princesses
As you can tell it's a disney print and in squares. I couldn't figure out how I was going to get in my sewing machine to quilt. So I started researching different methods of quilting and found the Quilt as You Go method. This seemed to be the answer to all my prayers.  So... without measuring very accurately and not realizing the squares were not truly square but slightly off but more of a rectangle... I cut them into squares. LOL the joke was on me. You can't make squares out of retangles.
Wonky Squares
My Sqaures sewn into strips
Next will be sewing them together to make a quilt that is not quite 50" x 70" to get it that big I will need to add some sashing and a then a border. I will post those pictures when I get that far. I have done quite a bit of ripping and sewing to get everything to turn out ok. I think that it will turn out cute and my granddaughter wont notice how badly this is done until she grows up and says" What was Mema drinking when she made this?" LOL

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Time Off, Been in a Funk

It's been a while since I have been here. I guess I took quite a bit of time off from blogging. Mainly because I have just been in a funk and didn't want to complain.

I had a very nice summer visiting with family who came to Florida for their vacations. First my son and his family came from Georgia to spend some time in Ft. Myers. I loved seeing my grandchildren. They are growing so fast. Next came one of my daughters and her family from Texas. They spent some time in Orlando doing the theme parks. And lastly my sister from Georgia and her family came down for some summer sun and theme parks.

It's now Sept 2012 and I have been doing a lot of research on how to quilt large projects and quilt as you go. Reason being, I made my daughter her quilt top and gave it to her when she was here in July. Now she gets to find someone to quilt it for her. It would take me forever to quilt it by hand and she might never get it. I don't own a long arm quilter either. I have found that it is expensive to have it quilted, but even more expensive to buy the machine to quilt it with. There are so many different types of quilting machines that is would make it hard to decide which one to buy. Then setting one up requires more room than I have to put one, as I share my spare bedroom with my sewing/crafting area.

This is what I made this spring. A new purse.  

It's not quite as big as I had hoped it would be. It's after lunch. Time to stop for now.