Wednesday, April 25, 2012

(Friendship) Star Trek

Isn't she gorgeous?  What do you think I should name her?  She is a Trek Pure.  A pure cruising pleasure!  A bit over the top cheesy?  Okay.  Well, this bike was my birthday present from my hubby and I adore her!  I had so much fun biking when we were on vacation that I decided to get a bike of my own!  I've got a rack on the back and I plan on putting a basket on the front.  Remember putting playing cards on the spokes when you were a kid?  I won't go that far, but will accessorize her for sure!

Oh yeah, it was my birthday last week.  I spent it, and the weekend, working on a few sewing projects.  One being a birthday present for my sister.  Her's is coming up in May.  Until then, we are the same age!  Pretty cool huh?  Anyway, I've been piecing blocks for a quilt for her and I also made a table topper for a Mother's Day present for my other mother in England.  I used all fat quarters for this project.  It measures about 35" X 35."  

The middle block is a friendship star.  The other 8 blocks are Disappearing 9 Patches.  I discovered this block while surfing the internet for ideas.  I found a great step by step guide to creating this block at Cluck Cluck Sew.  Basically, just make a nine patch block then cut it in half vertically and horizontally.

Now you have four patches.  Rearrange your squares however you like.  The combinations are endless.

Next, just sew it back together.  This works.  Right?

Arrange all your blocks however you'd like!  I love that it looks a lot more complicated than it is!

I pieced the the back of the table topper, too.  I also used the technique of folding over the back fabric to the front to bind it.

My quilt lines are pretty visible in these pictures.  Oops, and some of them are a little wobbly!  Hey, I'm still a beginner!

Thanks to all for the birthday wishes and know who you are!

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Monday, April 16, 2012

Quilt Photography 101

Aren't these flowers gorgeous?  We have two of these plants in our back garden.  Both are climbing clematises.  They always look so pretty in the spring and their blooms seem to last a long time.

Do you want to hear a funny story?  Well, wanting to take a great picture of my finished Bali Pops Batik Quilt, I decided to hang it on the fence.  This worked well when I photographed the finished top, but yesterday was a wee bit too windy!  I was so excited that I finished the quilt, so I threw caution to the wind and tried hanging it anyway.  Not a good idea.  My lovely quilt ended up blowing off the fence and into my neighbor's yard!  I prayed my neighbors were home AND their little dogs were not in the yard!  I went round and rang their bell a few times.  Finally, an answer.  I had to formally introduce myself and request entry to their back yard where I retrieved my quilt.  Awkward!  

I came inside and hung the quilt over the second floor banister.  The quality of the picture isn't great, but you can get an idea of the color and size of the finished blanket.  

I'm really happy with it.  I think the border and backing fabric ties all the strips together well.  I did simple straight line quilting.  It was actually easier than I expected.  I suspect because I made the quilt sandwich a lot better and I was able to roll up the excess as I quilted.

Even though I am a beginner quilt (this is my third real quilt), this was the first time I used a pattern.  This pattern is called, Blueberry Hill by Villa Rosa Designs.  I found the pattern easy to understand and would recommend it to anyone wanting to try using jelly rolls, or, in my case, Bali Pop pre-cut strips.  

I took this photo earlier today.  I decided not to risk the fence trick again, so I draped it over a bench that sits in front of our no longer blooming lilac bushes.  Doesn't it just look scrumptious?  

Thanks for stopping by.  I'm sorry I haven't been blogging as much lately.  I'm still trying to get into a routine with my new work schedule, etc.  My daughter calls me, "nocturnal."  It's taking some time to get used to!  Bear with me!

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Winging It

The lilacs in my yard have finished blooming.  The clematis, however, is going mad!  I will post a photo as soon as I can pull my winter clothes back out of my closet!  I've said it before, but I still can't get over that it can be 90 degrees here one day and the next it is barely 50!  Seriously, our air conditioning was running on April 1st!  Today, I'm tempted to flip the heat back on!  The only way to keep warm is to keep moving!  I've spent the day cleaning and vacuuming my house.  It truly needed it!  I also started quilting my batik quilt.  I had put it off because I was nervous about doing such a large quilt myself.  I decided, however, just to start and not worry about getting it perfect.  After much thought (too much), I committed to straight line quilting.  I  didn't measure or draw lines, however.  I just followed the horizontal and vertical seem lines.  I just winged it!  That's a new quilting term!  I will show you as soon as I'm finished.  In the meantime, have a look at my Octopus Wall Hanging:

It's kind of plain, but, according to my daughter, "simple" is better.  I quilted this one using straight lines, too. I followed the seem lines around the inside and outside borders and then along the horizontal and vertical lines around the squares.  I'm pleased with the piece overall, but especially happy with how the octopus image transferred.  I got the octopus image from The Graphics Fairy.  Instead of transferring it onto the fabric using gel medium, I printed it directly onto off-white fabric using freezer paper.  

It came out so great!  It was so easy, too!  I'm definitely going to be using this method a lot more...especially for my bags!

Gotta run!  Tootles!

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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Sweet Smells of Spring

You know how some scents remind you of something, someone, somewhere, or even some time in your life?  Smelling cheap Stetson cologne reminds me of the teenage boys from my youth.  The odorous combination of fried food and diesel fuel makes me think of when I lived in England.  And the sweet, old-fashioned smell of lilacs reminds me of playing outside with my friends when I was kid growing up in Iowa.  I could smell these lilacs from my kitchen this morning.  My husband planted three bushes a few years ago in the far corner of our back garden.  I clipped this little bunch and smiled thinking of those playful times so many years ago.  

It wasn't easy going back to work after getting back from my Gulf Coast vacation.  Besides working at my day (I actually work nights) job, I have managed to finish my Blueberry Hill Bali Pops quilt top!  It actually came together rather quickly.  I chose the strips for each block randomly, however I was sure not to place like pieces next to each other.  

Blueberry Hill Pattern      Bali Pops in Watermelon Fabric

I hung it horizontally so I could take a better photo.  It measures 56" X 68."  I'm going to use the same fabric for the backing as used for the borders, which, I think, ties all the colors together a bit better.  I've got the batting and am ready to start quilting!  I know I said I wouldn't quilt my next quilt myself, but I think I can handle this size.  I am thinking about "stippling."  What do you think? 

I've got another project in the works as well.  I'm still in the planning stages of a wall hanging.  I want to do a  nautical themed art quilt to hang above a small antique dresser at the top of the stairs in my house.  I bought two "jellyfish" art glass pieces down on the coast and I've placed these, as well as a few other reminders of the trip on this dresser.

Boring wall above dresser

Aren't they cool?

Keeping the tentacles of the jelly fish in mind, I plan to transfer an octopus image onto fabric for the center.   I found this awesome octopus at The Graphics Fairy.

I'm still working on design, but I will most likely go with half square triangles.  I've chosen blue and cream for the main colors and have purchased my fabric, including this ticking remnant I found at JoAnn's for $5.00.

I'm also planning on getting some bags done for my nearly bare Etsy shop and also make myself a case for my new iPad!  Busy busy!

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