Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Ocean Inspired Fabric and Quilt Blocks

I'm so thrilled to have received my Ocean Waves Batiks fat quarters a few days ago!  I fell in love, again, with the collection after opening the package.  They are beautiful!  I've been searching the internet and books, including 5,500 Quilt Block Designs by Maggie Malone, for a quilt pattern using these fabrics.  I want to use a block design that makes the fabric appear to be a wave.  I came across the Snail's Trail and the Journey to California blocks. 

Snail's Trail Block from
The blocks look very similar.  I think they look pretty "wave-like," but if I could only use the "top" of the block.  Hmmm.  Here is what I've come up with:

I've been cutting up my scraps for several days so I had a bunch right in front of me to experiment with.  I used 8 blue squares and 2 off-white squares plus 5 half square triangles.  The block that ends the wave was the hardest for me to figure out.  I haven't made anything like this square before.  Here is my sketch on graph paper (drawing on graph paper makes me a real quilter now huh?):

I'm not sure what this "special" square is called, or even if it a real design.  Basically, it's a blue triangle sewed to two smaller, one blue and one off-white, triangles.  I decided on a 16 patch block.  It measures at 14 inches completed.  I think I'll stick with this size, but now I need to decide the design for the overall quilt. I have 12 batik fat quarters to work with and have purchased a white on white solid to use as well.  Any ideas?  

I mentioned earlier that I have been cutting up my scraps for the past several days.  I started this project while cleaning up and cleaning out my sewing room, AKA my studio.  My fabric stash was so disorganized!  I'm not nearly finished, but I did come across some fabric I forgot I had.  Before I knew what a charm pack was, a friend gave me one.  It is called, Wildflower Serenade.  It's from Moda.  I decided to use up these charms to make a table topper for my friend who gave me the fabric.

I made the center heart applique using cut up charms and fusible web.  I "quilted" the heart with off-white thread.  I quilted the rest of the piece with clear thread.  I had several four patches leftover, so I made a hooped wall hanging to match.  I bought the wooden hoop for $1.00!  

I hope everyone is enjoying the beginnings of summer!  I have several sewing projects in the works, including a couple of vintage dresses for my oldest daughter, a blouse for me, and more skirts for my littlest daughter.  I'm also going to tackle a baby Jon Jon for my cousin's newest little one!  I cannot wait to start on my Waves Quilt!  I am thinking that project will go to the top of my list! 


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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Experimenting: Homemade Bubble Jet Set Recipe

Newsflash:  I'm not a scientist!  I flunked chemistry and never even considered taking physics at school.  However, I'm cheap.  I mean, I don't like to spend a lot of money if I can avoid it.  Considering Bubble Jet Set costs anywhere from $15 to $22 a bottle, I decided to try to make my own.   I do not want the disaster that occurred after I washed my Bunny Quilt to happen again!

I searched the internet for a homemade Bubble Jet Set recipe.  Here is the most simple version I could find:

2 tablespoons of Alum (the stuff used when canning pickles)
2 1/2 teaspoons washing soda (not baking soda) (I found this in the grocery store)
1/2 teaspoon liquid fabric softner
1 cup of hot water

Mix the first 3 ingredients and then add the hot water.  Stir.  It will be foamy.

When the foam eases, soak your fabric for 15 minutes.  Wring out and dry completely.  I poured the leftover mix into a baby food jar to save for future use.

When my fabric was dry (I cheated and put it in the dryer), I ironed freezer paper to it and ran it through my printer.  I used the same bunny image I used for my quilt.

Image pre-wash

Image post-wash

Yay!  It worked!  Before I use a printed image on a quilt or table topper again, however, I think I will do more testing, ahem, experimenting.  It faded a bit, but nothing like before!  For the most part:  SUCCESS!

One more thing:  School's out!  That means sewing summer clothes for my littlest daughter!  Yep, every summer, I try to make a few dresses and skirts for her.  Here is Charlotte's first skirt for Summer 2012:

Butterick 4722 View E
I used a Hawaiian looking blue batik.  

I know, last year I said I would NOT sew ruffles again, but I couldn't resist.  I thought this skirt was just too cute!

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Decisions Decisions

Since getting a gift certificate for my birthday, I've scoured every page at The Fat Quarter Shop.  Sometimes, I've been on the site two or three times a day!  It's been almost a month since my birthday!  Okay, a little obsessive, I know, but with such a humongous selection, I just could not decide what to get....until today!  I'm so excited!  I picked the Ocean Waves Batiks by Hoffman Fabrics fat quarter bundle!   

Aren't they gorgeous!  I decided on this collection (finally) after committing to using the gift certificate for myself.  I was tempted to pick fabrics to use for making something for someone one of my kids.  So when I decided on something for myself, I next had to figure out what I what use my fabric for.  Since I am about to start redecorating my bedroom, I have decided to make a bed runner with my new fabric!  My bedroom is going to have a beach theme!  You can check out my Master Bedroom Redo board on Pinterest if you are interested!

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P.S. Now I have to find a pattern!

I almost forgot!  Please check out Bonnie's giveaway at Living Life Creatively.  It's her Blogiversary!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Another Lesson Learned

Today is my mom's birthday.   With her birthday so close to Mother's Day, it makes this time of year especially difficult.  She died seven years ago.  I miss her so much everyday.  She was my best friend.  I am lucky, though, that I have some special ladies in my life that I consider like mothers to me.  I made the red Friendship Star/Disappearing Nine Patch table topper for one of those ladies.  I made another quilted topper for another.  I used the fat quarters I won from Annie's Ruby Slipperz.

My Aunt Pat loves bunnies and her home is decorated with very light pastels and romantic flowers.  These fabrics were perfect!  The topper I made measures 18" X 18" (finished).

Post Washed

The bunny image had printed so beautifully onto my fabric, but when I washed it, it almost disappeared completely! I could have cried.  I scrambled researching how I could fix it.  In the end, however, I decided the faded image just made the piece look more authentically vintage.

Pinwheels were a first here and I think they turned out pretty nice.  I also think the fabric is it!

I've learned a lot during my brief quilting journey.  The lesson here:  Make your fabric color fast BEFORE printing on it!  This only applies if you are printing directly onto regular fabric using freezer paper and you are going to wash your quilt.  (You might not feel it necessary to wash a wall hanging; like my Octopus Wall Hanging).  I believe if you use products designed for transferring images, that fabric is already treated.  I've done computer research and I have discovered that if you use something called Bubble Jet Set, you can use your own fabric and the freezer paper method.  I'm off to find that product and will give it a try!

Happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there and all those "like" moms, too!  And Happy Birthday Mom.  

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Saturday, May 5, 2012

A Birthday Quilt

In my last post I told you I celebrated ( celebrated may be a stretch) my birthday a couple of weeks ago.  While I haven't really been struggling with this birthday, I have reflected on being older and how I have experienced a few of the perks of being of a certain age now.  For example, I got a new knee this year.  Also, a few days after my birthday, I got one of those "age" moles removed.  Pleasant thought, I know.  Well, yesterday, as I was sitting in my house which was a balmy 85 degrees, drinking a cup of coffee, I realized this:  yes, I am indeed old.  Only old people drink coffee when it is super hot right?!  As I sat there sweating, I began to laugh at myself.  Another sign?  Laughing did make me feel a bit better.  I really felt better, however, when the repairman finally arrived and fixed the air conditioning! 

Another thing that made me feel better was that I finished the quilt for my sister.  Her birthday is Sunday when, once again, she will be older than me!  I started this quilt after finishing the Friendship Star - Disappearing Nine Patch table topper I made for a Mother's Day gift.  I selected the fabrics completely myself.  This is the hardest part for me!  I think I know colors, but deciding if patterns coordinate is difficult. I picked the focus fabric first and then picked out a dark, a light, and then two neutrals.  

I'm not sure what the block is called.  I saw it first at Red Pepper Quilts.  Rita called her quilt the Lifesaver.  Basically, it is a nine patch using two fabrics and half square triangles at each corner.  It was pretty easy and fun to make!

I quilted it with straight lines that run diagonally across the quilt.  The lines intersect in the center of each block center.  I folded the backing fabric to the front for the binding.  This time I "mitered" the corners.

Sissy's Quilt
58" X 58"
Happy Birthday to my big sister!

One last thing...I won five fat quarters playing Mystery Mondays at Annie's Ruby Slipperz!  The parcel arrived yesterday and can't tell you how excited I am to start my next project with the fabric!  They are absolutely gorgeous!

Thanks again Annie!


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