I am no longer actively blogging here but I’d love if you could join me at my new creative lifestyle blog A Girl in Paradise.
I hope to see you soon.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Mosaic Monday - Doll Quilt Swap Favorites

I finally received my Doll Quilt from the DQS11, and my partner did not disappoint.  I love it!  They remind me of little beach cabanas, which of course is perfect for a girl in paradise.  She included some fabric scraps, *love it* and a little notebook.... that I had to hide from my daughter.  Isn't that awful?  but the girl has a huge addiction to them, and quite a collection.  I guess we all have our weakness, but she collects and hordes these little notebooks, like I collect and horde fabric.... enough said.  I found the perfect spot, up on the wall, in my sewing space yesterday, and every time I look at it I can't help but to smile. 

Here are some of my favorites from this round.  Seriously, this group has some real talent.  Of course this is by no means is in any particular order, or the only ones I like.  To see more check out the Doll Quilt Swap photostream for some more eye candy.  You won't be sorry.

1. DQS11 quilt received, 2. Woo hoo! Happy day!!, 3. DQS11 - Sent!, 4. Received DQS11!!!, 5. DQS11 Quilt Received - Oh My Goodness!!!!!!, 6. DQS 11 received from kristinawilberg, 7. DQS11-Received, 8. Doll Quilt Swap - Rec'd, 9. DQS11 - received

This is the quilt I made and sent out to my partner. I was really happy to be part of this swap and hope to be a part of it again.

Friday, August 26, 2011

How to Care For Your Quilt

I am sure like many of you that make quilts; you have been asked this question more than once.

So….How do you care for a quilt?

Quilts are typically made from 100% cotton fabric with cotton or cotton/poly blend batting and should be treated as an heirloom. The following recommendations should preserve the life of your quilt. It is important to limit the exposure your quilt has to light, heat and chemicals, as they will age your quilt.
Dry Cleaning is not recommended. Use a mild detergent in a delicate cycle for the minimum amount of time. Never use bleach. To keep colors bright and to prevent fading use the cold water settings on your machine. 
Using a dryer is not recommended, but if you must, use a low heat setting to tumble dry, or lay flat to air dry. Line drying could unevenly stretch out the quilt, so, it is not recommended.
Do not display your quilt in direct sunlight or consider rotating quilts through out the year. When hanging a quilt, a quilt sleeve should be attached. This will give your quilt enough support to prevent sagging and stress on the stitches.  Hang in a low traffic area wear quilts won't be touched.  Quilts are sensative to body oils and ciggerate smoke.

If storing on a wooden rack or hanger, do not let your quilt directly touch the wood. Oils from the wood could absorb on to the fabric and leave a stain. Separate the quilt from the wood by using acid free tissue paper or a piece of fabric.
Quilts (cotton) has to breathe, so never store in plastic bins, bags or directly on plastic coated shelving. It is best to store quilts between clean white cotton sheets, or in a clean white pillow case. Quilts that are going to be stored for any length of time should be taken out several times a year to be “aired out” so the quilt can breathe, then it should be refolded in a different pattern to prevent wearing in the crease.

In a perfect world it would be great if we could store our quilts on an unused bed, lay them flat and unfolded, with clean white sheet layered between them…..I can dream, can’t I?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A New Quilt Project

For the last couple of days I have been working on a new quilt project.

As you can see it involves large half square triangles and stripes.  Lots and lots of stripes.  I love this fabric, it is one of my favorites.  It is made is by Robert Kaufman, in his Pimatex Basic line, This particular print is called Chocolate, and I think it is perfect for a little baby boy quilt.

I am still working on the layout.  I am not quite sure if I want the design going down the middle or if I want it off centered a bit.  In my mind there are more white blocks on either side of the layout shown.
What do you think?  Minimize the open white space or maximize it?

This is a basic block, nothing new, just 2 HST's sewn together, but I had to cut and piece them differently than I would have normally cut and pieced a HST block.  It was important for the design of the quilt that the stripe in the fabric stay straight and go in a certain direction.

I love that this quilt is all about fabric and layout.  Nothing fancy just quilting in its most simplistic form.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

My Saturday

Is it sad that I am happy that my sister canceled our plans, my husband is working on our anniversary, and the kids are glued to the Xbox?  On most days I would be highly annoyed but today I really had my heart set on getting some sewing done, and since I have been looking at this memory quilt on the floor for over a week, I think it is time to finish it up.

I am done rearranging blocks every time I walk by it...

I had hoped to have it all ironed and sandwiched too, but I think it is time to peel the kids away from their video games and do something fun.  I can work on this tomorrow.  I am just happy, I got the quilt top put together today and off the floor.  

Of course, today just wouldn't be complete if I didn't share a picture... 


Here we are on our wedding day some 16 years ago.

Of course, if I was a good wife I might make him something yummy for dinner tonight...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Glitter Composition Notebooks {a tutorial}

As you know it is Back to School time and as parents we are busy putting together all the things they will need to start off the new year.  This year one of the things that was on the recommended school supply list for my daughter was a composition notebook.  No problem, right?  This time of year Wal-mart or Target has them on sale for like 40 cents.  I can handle that....til you step into The Children's Place and your daughter sees them covered in glitter and retailing for $4.95.  Seriously!  I would never pay 5 bucks for something I can make for less than a dollar. 

This project knock off was ridiculously easy to do, and cheap.  I paid 40 cents for the notebook, 25 cents for the sponge brush, and the rest of the stuff I already had on hand from past projects.

Here is a little of what you will need.

The freezer paper is optional.  I used it because I can tape it to the counter and it gave me a larger workspace than regular paper.  If I had a leftover paper grocery bag I would have used that, but I didn't, so I used the freezer paper instead.  

The glitter I used had a fine texture and was leftover from another project.  I suppose any glitter will do, but I would recommend fine glitter, as coarse glitter might make the notebook too rough.

First, take your painters tape and carefully cover the black binding of your composition notebook.  Then place a piece of paper under the cover of your notebook to protect the pages of your notebook from the Mod Podge. 

Now add a healthy layer of Mod Podge with a sponge brush to the cover of your composition notebook.

Next add a healthy layer of glitter, shaking off the excess, repeating several times.  Once that is done, set it aside, and let it dry.  This can take anywhere from a couple of hours to overnight depending on how thick your Mod Podge was. 

Once it is dry, add another layer of Mod Podge.  This will help seal in the glitter and give the notebook a smoother texture.  Again, let that dry.  Once it is dry you can remove the blue tape. Then you are done.  If you want, you can repeat the process on the back cover.

Have fun with it.  We (my daughter and I) are already planning on making another one, but this time I am going to let her get some bling at the craft store to decorate her notebook.  This one won't be for school but for home, because like last year she will also need something for her writing homework.  A special notebook for this task worked wonders for us last year, so I am all over making her another one.  As they say you gotta start the year off right.  :) 

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think.  I will be linking this project to some of these linky parties.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Work in Progress Wednesday

This week has been a very productive, because of the nonstop rain, we have been in.  Which means I have been getting a lot of sewing done, but before we begin I want to share the mini quilt I received in the I {heart} the 80's Swap.  I actually got it last week and I can't believe I forgot to share.  I know, how horrible of me.  Anyways, Jenn of Jenn of all Trades made me this Awesome mini quilt for my collection.

New Projects:

Apple Core quilt – Well actually this has been on my "haven't touched in forever" list, but I have pulled it out and dusted it off because I had a brainstorm the other night, to make it go easier.  I took a lesson from the paper piecing hexi makers out there, but instead of using paper I am used heat resistant template plastic.  It doesn't melt when you iron it, so I was able to press some apple core and sew them together like one would sew together hexi's.  Now that I have figured out that it works I am planning to put a little tutorial together today and will share more tomorrow.

My First Quilt A Long - I have picked out my fabric and done the math.  Now I am just waiting for the mail man to deliver my fabric so we can begin.  I am making my 3 year old his first big boy quilt for his new room, and I thought it might be fun to do it together.   

On Going Projects:

Memory Quilt - I have made tons of progress here.  I have all my blocks put together and laid them out.  At first I was a little discouraged that my blocks were not coming out as I had envisioned, but now that they are all laid out I am full of hope again.  Now, I am going to leave it here for a few days move some blocks around till I am happy and then sew the quilt top together.

No Progress:
August Bee Blocks
2010 Scrap Quilt

Follow me over to Freshly Pieced to see what everyone else has on their sewing table this week for Work in Progress Wednesday. :)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Trash to Treasure Tuesday - Chap Stick Holder


Again, I am planning ahead for Christmas, and I made a hooded towels for a friend.  They make great gifts for the little ones that are to big for those itty bitty baby hooded towels, but still want to wrapped up nice and cozy, when they get out of the tub.  The problem is after I am done making them I am left just a little bit of ribbon.  Sure you can add it to your stash of ribbon bits, soooo, it is not exactly trash but let's face it.... What are you really going to do with it?

I am also in Back to School mode (I know, there is a lot going on in here) and my daughter, she is 8, has a love affair with Chap Stick and Lip Gloss.

So, I took my little bit of ribbon and a swivel hook and made her a chap Stick/Lip Gloss holder.

Using my Chap Stick as my guide I folded the ribbon over, so the raw edges were inside, and ironed everything into place.

I added my swivel hook.

Then I pinned it together and sewed it along the edge on both sides.

Now that is all set, let's see if we can move on to more important things.  You know like clothes, shoes, school supplies, etc....

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Quilt Binding by Machine {a tutorial}

Attaching your binding by machine can be one of the hardest ways to attach your binding neatly.  Especially on smaller projects.  I will say 9 times out of 10, I will sew the binging on to the back of my quilts by hand, with an invisible stitch, or Jacob Ladder stitch, as it is sometimes called. Love this stitch! It makes for a beautiful finish, but sometimes a project requires binding to be added by machine for what ever the reason. Or maybe you just hate hand stitching and prefer to do it by machine. That's fine, do what is comfortable for you.

First, square up your quilt.  It really does make a world of difference.  I have a big 17" square ruler that I bought to use for some t-shirt quilts I did a while back.   Now, I love it for squaring up the corners of my quilt.  It works great, and for smaller projects I can use it to square up the whole thing.  For larger quilts I will square up the corners using this, then my regular cutting ruler to do the rest.

Ok, so here is something that is considered a huge no, no by some, but if you are lucky enough if to have a nice finish edge... use it!  Why not?  It is not going to unravel and it will reduce the bulk in your binding.  Of course, not all fabric has a nice finished edge.  If that is the case leave yourself enough room to sew it on the diagonal later.  I know, that seems like a pain, but it will lay flatter than a straight seam.

Usually I don't cut my binding on the bias.  *I know, gasp!*  The only time I cut binding on the bias is when I am working with curves, then I find it worth my time.  Other than that, I have never had a problem with the strait 2 1/2" strips that I use.  I will, however still join my strips on the diagonal.  Again, this will help disperse the bulk. 

Next, I will iron all my seams flat and then, and iron my binding in half, wrong side together.

Since I have a nice finished edge, I am going to lay that down first and leave about 2 or 3 inches before I start stitching.  If I didn't have this nice finished edge I would have pinned the binding to the quilt for about 10 inches, before I started to stitch.  That way there I could join the beginning to the end with a nice diagonal seam later.

Then, I am going to sew all the way down to my first corner, stopping just before I get to the edge (less then a 1/4"), fold your binding straight up with a diagonal crease, and then....   

...straight down.  Now when you start stitching again, you are going to have to feel around and find where your corners meet, then start stitching there.  Do that for all 4 corners and sew till you are almost to where you started.

Place your raw edge into your finished edge and top stitch to secure.

Now this step is where I am going to add a little work for myself but I feel it is worth my time.  This is the step where you are going to want to pay attention to the details. 
When I am machine sewing my binding to my quilt top I pin my binding to the back, on the top, in the ditch.  Understand?  If not see picture above.  I do this because I sew in the ditch on the top of my quilt not on the back, but I want to make sure the stitch is straight and neat looking on the back too.  Details, Details.  Taking the time to pin it all the way around lets me see where my stitches are going to fall on the back, before I start sewing.  If I need to make any adjustments, I can make them now instead of having to pick out stitches, (or add any stitches) later.  I like it to look like one continuous stitch all the way around.  That being said, don't forget to make sure you have enough thread in the bobbin, and the right color.

Note: On larger quilts I sometimes use safety pins instead of regular straight pins, so, I don't stick myself along the way.

See doesn't she look pretty? 

Now, I would like to hear from you.  Do you have a favorite binding trick that you like to use?  Do you use those clips instead of pins to secure your binding?  Do they work well for you?  Do you sew your binding by hand?  Or always by machine?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Saying Farewell to the Farmers Wife

Regrettably, I think it might be time for me to say goodbye to the Farmers Wife.  I will be sad to see her go.  I have enjoyed her stories, and even tried to imagine what my own Great Grandmother would have written.  I wonder what she would have wished for her 3 daughters...and I wonder what she thought of the path that each of them took. 

My Grandmother was the city girl who preferred modern conveniences, and dressing well. The middle sister went to college and became a nurse, much to the displeasure of my great grandfather.  The youngest sister did in fact marry a farmer and enjoyed the simple life.  But they all lived very well in there own way.

Original set of Farmers Wife Blocks
It is not that I haven't really enjoyed this Quilt a Long, and learned a lot about template piecing, but it is a time management issue and a financial one.

This all came about because I was running out of the original fabric that I bought for this quilt and went to my LSQ to get some more and she was sold out.  Then I hit the Internet, and discovered that it is discontinued and very hard to find.  Curse you Moda!  *waves fists in air*  Why do discontinue your fabric lines so quickly?  I decided then that I didn't want to buy pieces here and there, and pay all that shipping on top of it.  For what?  What was I going to do with this quilt when it was finished?  I am not a huge sampler fan so I wouldn't be leaving it out on display.  Gift it someone?  Maybe, but who?  

So,then I decided I needed to take a break and come back to it with fresh eyes and new, brighter fabrics.

Did that, but you know what, I am still not feeling it.  My heart just isn't in it anymore.  Some how this makes me feel like a huge quitter.  Which I hate.  I am not a quitter and I try to teach my kids to always finish what they start, but right now I feel I must spend my free time with my family, and growing my blog.  Not the things that I don't have a passion for anymore.  I have a lot of ideas and things I would like to do but need the time to do them.  In life sacrifices must be made and priorities must be set.

Second brighter set
Good-bye Farmers Wife.  It was great to have met you, and I will never forget the lessons I have learned.  Not to mention, I now have a much greater appreciation (and love) for my rotary cutter and all those quilts that been passed down from generation to generation. 


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Work in Progress Wednesday

Is it Wednesday again already?  Wow!  This week has flown by.  Unfortunately, I don't have to much to share with you this week and this post is really light on pictures.  I haven't spent much time at the sewing machine or even on the computer, for that matter.  This week as I am in Back to School mode.  The kids go back in less than 20 days and there is lots to do.... and buy.  Appartently my kids have grown out of everything this summer, and I do mean everything.  Seriously, you should see my B2S list it is crazy. 

But, I do have a few things to share with you... 

Make Mine Modern Swap - is done and ready to be shipped out.  As part of the swap we are required to include at least 1 1/2 yards of quilt shop quality fabric, a hand made item to decorate there sewing space, and some kind of decoration, collectible, tool, toy, or journal you think would make your partners day.  This was a real fun swap to be a part of and I can't wait to find out what my partner thinks of it. 

New Projects

My First Quilt A Long - I can't tell you how excited I am about this.  I have wanted to do this for a while now but the timing has never been right.  So, stay tuned as I will be sharing more on this soon.

August Bee Blocks - I received my fabric from Jodie and we are making these Star Blocks from Cluck Cluck Sew.

Farmers Wife QAL- I know this should be considered an "On going Project" but to make a very long story short I have decided to start this one over.  I will share more about this in my Farmers Wife Friday post.

No Progress
Memory Quilt 
2010 Scrap Quilt
Apple Core Quilt

Follow me over to Freshly Pieced to see what everyone else has on their sewing table this week for Work in Progress Wednesday. :)