Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Containing The Selvages

I have amazing quilting friends that keep me in fun selvages, not to mention my love of chopping selvages from my own stash. It's so exciting when a package (squishy) arrives in the mail and it's packed with selvages. I love seeing the fabrics everyone sews with and wonder what project or quilt they went into. I piled a bunch of selvages from one bag onto my cutting board and went to town making a tote the other day.

I'm in organization mode this week, so I decided to find a way to corral all the bags of selvages into one collection so I could go through them easier. That pile on the cutting table was bugging me. All my selvages fit into this queen-size comforter bag. It's clear and has a wide opening, so I can search for the perfect selvage for my projects. Maybe now I won't hoard selvages and use them more. Now to find a place to stow this 9 lb. bag. My son says it looks a lot like trash. Hmmphh!

Front and back of selvage sewing bag. I'm not sure why I made the handles so wide, but I've been in a wide handle mood lately. This tutorial by Skip to My Lou makes tote bag sewing a piece of cake. If you are intrigued by using selvages, check out the Selvage Blog and these projects on Flickr.

Look! My first name is on one of the selvages. And it's spelled correctly! We one "l" Micheles are big in the quilting world! ; )

There haven't been a lot of finishes around here, but I did complete this hot pad for casserole-size dishes. It measures 11" x 15" and was inspired by these amazing pieces created by Sarah at the House of Krom. Hot pads might make nice gifts next year along with a pretty casserole crock filled with goodies. Yeah, I'll get started on those right away. Someone remind me! Now this talented gal has hot pad fever big time. Love her use of Tonya's letters! Here's a cute tutorial that may have started the hot pad craze in blogland.

I'm still plugging away on the Quiltville mystery quilt. What was I thinking?! This baby is going to use all or most of the remaining "calm" fabrics in my stash. I may even have to throw in some of my normal wild stuff or buy more calm.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Sunday Stash #20

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. We sure did. I ate, sewed and socialized my way through the entire holiday. Today it is cold and very windy, so I hope to stick inside and sew.

My Secret Quilt Angel sent me a half a yard of fabric for each of the 48 months I've been sewing. I've been having so much fun petting and playing with all these beauties.

 I needed the 1930's repro fabric to bind a quilt, but all these others were on sale. I better get sewing!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

More Little Projects

Isn't this little owl pendant adorable? It's made from a Scrabble tile. Paisley Monday makes all kind of fun pendants by up-cycling Scrabble tiles, dominoes, bottle caps, etc. My daughter and I enjoy playing Scrabble and owls are her thing since she hit one the first time she was able to drive at night. It wasn't funny at the time, but the baby owl did survive. Hubby moved it from the road and . I think mama owl was teaching her babes to fly that night and we were teaching our babe to drive that night. The day after the incident I found an owl softie and planted it in her room. Our family likes to plant odd things. We're a lively bunch.

To go along with the pendant, I made a messenger bag and a matching pouch from some adorable owl fabric my Secret Quilt Angel sent me. It was hard to chop, but I did it!

This is a super easy chicken pincushion I had to try. Cute, huh?
 Uh oh, these little guys are kind of addictive. I better get back to holiday preparations.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Holiday Fun!

I'm enjoying my Christmas break. It's about time to start baking and cooking!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sunday Stash #18

Merry Christmas to me! How did Santa know I wanted fabric? Is everyone getting ready for Christmas? I've been shopping slow and steady. What did we do before the internet? The dreaded mall? That dark place (Hollister) before my daughter discovered she could get five times the clothes if she shopped the discount stores? I doubt my son has ever been to a mall. He's a total buy online geek and proud of it.

As in our family tradition, we have exchanged gifts all month long. It makes the holiday last so much longer and you don't really need a tree as there are no presents to put under it! My husband has the most willpower, but we bug him daily to open stuff. Family peer pressure.

I made some sweet roll doll Friday night and whipped up some sticky buns and cinnamon rolls Saturday morning. Here's what was left before I thought to take a picture. I tried a small piece just to test the quality of the dough recipe. Ahem.

Look at this adorable iPhone baby quilt. Quilters are the most creative people. One of my blog buddies is in labor today and is Tweeting her progress (and excitement). Isn't that cool? Nothing like modern medicine and technology to be able to share the joy of birth with family and friends. Happy birthday Noah, you're going to love your sweet family.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Readin', Totin', Charmin', Shroomin'

The Practical Guide to Patchwork has been on my wish list for a long time. I was able to use some bonus points through my book club and get a deal since I always missed out on the blog giveaways. The book came yesterday and I'm enjoying the eye candy. The projects are really lovely, but what's nice about this book is Elizabeth Hartman covers every aspect of making modern quilts. From supplies to binding. It would be perfect for a newer quilter, although there are some intermediate projects. Check out Elizabeth's blog, Oh, Fransson! for even more inspiration. I have to limit myself to her blog because I want to make everything she's making! Surely she has other stalkers! ;)

I also unearthed this adorable book, Sew Darn Cute and have been thumbing through it for gift ideas to sew. I love quilting and craft books for the inspiration, and step-by-step patterns for newer sewists. I've learned so much from these authors.
I saw an ornament around blogland yesterday and it inspired me to make a little two-sided house ornament for my non-existent tree. Maybe this wee house would prefer being a gift tag on a present.

Approximately 10" x 13" x 4".
Lining and inner pocket.
And then I saw a super cool tote made with linen and patchwork squares.This tote bag tutorial, was surprisingly easy. I think I'm getting the hang of sewing projects. I adjusted the size and the bottom gusset? because I wanted a sturdy, taller tote. I applied fusible fleece to the outer pieces and then forgot to quilt the patchwork squares. I also forgot to do top stitching on the handles. It still turned out cute and definitely sturdy. Round two of tote making may be today. I ran out of fusible fleece, but I think regular quilt batting would do the trick and then I'll have to remember to quilt it.

Our guild visited a nursing home Tuesday to give residents some of our handmade quilts and other gifts. We gathered at Panera Bread and Rene', our prez, gifted everyone with gorgeous charm squares, which I promptly chopped up and made this mini for a swap. I've hoarded the rest. They were really pretty.

Another guild buddy, Julie of La Todera knows of my 'shroom fascination. Look at the adorable papier mache toadstool she made for me. I have her Plushroom Pincushions pattern/kit and can't wait to have some mushroom pincushions for my studio. The link above will take you to her Etsy shop which has her wonderful patterns. Check out the Asian Fan Purse pattern. I saw that bag in person and it is wonderful!

I hope everyone is having fun. Happy sewing!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sew, Mama, Sew! Giveaway Day

It's Giveway Day over at Sew, Mama, Sew! There are three different lists to check out. You'll find some awesome new blogs and even more awesome giveaways. It's giveaway city I tell you! The giveaways are open until Friday, December 17, so take a break with your holiday hoopla and go win something! That tree will decorate itself. At least that's what I'm hoping...

Handcrafted Items and Supplies/Materials
Sewing and Knitting Supplies/Materials
Handcrafted Items

Friday, December 10, 2010

Nativity Goodness

Original Here
Oh yum. I could totally pull this off with ingredients found in my kitchen. And this actually looks like my oven. I did a double take thinking my kids had been playing with food without me. Note the charred ash in the bottom. I always forget to wipe out the ash after I self clean the oven. Funny that the ash caught my eye before the Lil' Smokie Jesus. Sure wish there was a cooked version of this masterpiece. Please pass the mustard.

My produce market is still producing wonderful fruits and veggies. The bunch of dill I bought was huge! I've been "dilling" everything. I made this simple pasta dish with the peppers, parsley and dill on meatless night. It was really good and so quick and easy. I braised the fresh kale for a side dish.

And made another loaf of homemade bread to go along with pasta and kale. This loaf was super easy. Water, yeast, salt and flour. Let rise twice. The darker bits are spices I threw in the dough. I always forget they burn. The bread was delicious though. The kids have been eating paninis out of it all week. My husband gave me a Griddler for an early Christmas present. My improvisational pressed sandwich set-up (bricks on dinner plates) must have finally got to him. So much for ingenuity.

I found a nice use for some flannel fabrics I had. I made two wheelchair lap robes for our guild's nursing home visit next week. They're very cozy. It's been so stinkin' cold here, I should have made one for my office. It's supposed to warm up this weekend and then get even colder next week. I might have to move to the Bahamas. Or at least buy some warm duds.

Look what else I found buried in my linen closet. I added embroidery and rick rack to this old huck cloth towel a long, long time ago. I really need to clean my linen closet. No telling what treasures or potential rags are in there!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Tie One On!

I've had these Anna Maria Horner cotton voile fabrics for a while. They're so soft and a bit sheer. I loved these scarves that Twin Fibers whipped up last January, but never got around to making them. You know how the "list" grows and grows for quilters and crafters.

I decided to chop into one of the voiles and craft a simple scarf. The contrasting ends are regular quilting weight cotton (Anna Maria Horner again) which gives them a nice drape.

My buddy Rene' made a gorgeous scarf with a soft corduroy backing. I adore the fabrics she used for the front too. I was able to see it in person on Sew Day, it's very elegant and stylish. So of course I had to try some corduroy backing and some patchwork. I'm not sure about this one, but it was fun to make. The black corduroy side has machine embroidery of roses and I tried to matchy-matchy that too much. Should have just shut my eyes as usual when choosing the fabrics.

I also loves these Echino fabric scarves by Spotted Stone. There's no shortage of inspiration out there! I might make another scarf out the fabrics below. The darker purple is a lightweight silk dupioni that changes color in the light. And I just remembered I have some sturdier dupionis that might be fun to use for another scarf. Gotta find those.

It looks like I don't have scarf making out of my system quite yet. Hopefully you've been inspired too!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Roll, Roll, Cotton, Boll. I'm Rolling!

Note: Please ignore this post if you don't want the latest Quiltville mystery quilt spoiled.

Neutrals, browns, greens and pinks

I thought I was going to pass on Bonnie's latest mystery quilt, Roll, Roll, Cotton Boll, but I started looking through my gifted subdued stash and I think I have enough fabric to make the mystery. The quilt is huge (87" x 102"), gulp. That size should put a good dent in those fabrics I would have never bought myself. I'll be doing a happy dance to put them to good use and practice some piecing skills at the same time.

I cut my quilting teeth using Bonnie's helpful tutorials and joining in on three of her mystery quilts. As usual, her instructions are clear and concise and so far, none of the steps have been beyond my comfort zone. In fact, once I saw step three's string blocks, that's what hooked me. I love me some string blocks! I'm eager to see what Bonnie does with them.

Step one was 2" strips of green sandwiched with pinks and then sub-cut into 2" units. Scrappy is best because you'll need 172 of these. Yawn.

Step two was 3.5" half square triangles in pinks and browns. 120 of these babies went together quickly.

Step three, the one that hooked me in, is 60 string blocks that measure 8.5" square. Bonnie used telephone book pages for the foundation, but like everything, our telephone books have shrunk and the pages aren't big enough. I hemmed and hawed and finally just cut one sheet of copy paper 8.5" x 8.5" and used it as a guide to make sure my strips were long enough. Easy peasy and no pesky paper to rip off. I have 10 of these complete. Only 50 more to go. They may get much more scrappy toward the end. My stash is not bursting at the seams with neutral yardage. Oh well, what's a mystery without a little challenge?

I'd love to hear and see your progress if you've started this mystery. 

Look what one of my doll quilt swappers sent me. She knows I love playing with selvages. I think she does too! I love that my name is on the stocking. It must be a Michele D'Amore fabric selvage. The cute little stocking was stuffed full of selvages.
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