Sunday, October 31, 2010

mutt strutt & no sew techniques!

we have strutted. it is over. alfie, along with his new best friend, loki, did their philanthro-pupic duties and attended the philadelphia mutt strut, a great annual fundraiser for the philadelphia animal welfare society, or PAWS.

this is loki, he is just a young pup, but he was such a good boy! so many people wanted to pet him, how can you not love those two colored eyes and that soft fur! plus, he still has puppy in him, he is a pouncing playing pup!

alfie, on the other hand, was more interested in breaking free! he always wants to break free, it's the beagle. but this is a good dog's eye view of his beagle world.

so with all this strutting, i've barely had time to sew! i figured it was time to do some non-sewing. non sewing? what do you say, you, you, crazy! yes, with some fabric tac, adhesive spray, and a firm belief that fabric should cover everything, i made some great new art boards!

so you take your boring old cork boards... i got one in the "canvas" style, i.e. it looks like a stretched canvas, just make of cork. the second is your traditional bulletin board, cork board with a wooden frame.

with the canvas style one, well, oh so easy really. take a piece of fabric that will cover the board, giving you a couple inches on each side to go around the back. spray the wrong side of the fabric with adhesive spray, then carefully place the board on top, flip it over, pull out any bubbles or folds, then tack it to the back! you can use just the spray, or if you have a nice stapler, staple it to the back!

i used this one for jewelery in the bedroom, with some super awesome anna maria horner roses. so ridiculously easy, and much easier on my stuff since the necklaces live in a ball in a jewelery box.

the second was a bit more work... i painted the wooden frame with some acrylic paint, then cut a piece of fabric to match the inside. again, i used spray adhesive, tacked it down, then used fabric tac to create a cute ribbon border, which also hides any imperfections, got to love that!

now i can hang ideas, photos, color palettes, what have you, in a place that isn't taped to the wall in the dining room....

much better.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

an apple a day...

you know what's kinda funny. i love apples. ok, not really funny there, but what is funny, is that i don't actually get a kick out of eating raw apple, you know, like bite it, right off the tree... eh, can't help it. what i do love though, is anything with apple in it... pie, cider, pancakes... good.

so what does a girl do when she has one apple, sadly sitting on the counter in the kitchen? well, she makes a quick compote! yeah compote! (pssst, that's warm fruit.) i love fruit compote so much that i rarely put it on anything, i just eat it straight from the stove...

it's v.v. easy too! first, you take your apple... ok this can be tricky to some, i mean, apple, sure. no problem. then martha and the lot get you all confused... what kind of apple? granny smith, pink lady, golden delicious, too many names! now i love martha, and i love apples, so i just grab whatever one looks pretty! today it was a pink lady, which i found out stay pretty firm, so if you want a softer touch, i grab a golden delicious, my general favorite. (which, of course, as a child i refused to eat, green apples were for boys like my brother, i only ate red ones. so there!)

ok, so you basically do this...cube it, melt a bit of butter in a pot, toss in apple, sprinkle in sugar, cinammon, and anything else you fancy. cover it on a simmer for, say 10 minutes, then apple-cadabra! compote. yummy.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

cloudy 50's country kitchen quilt

say that five times fast. whew. it's done! and i must say, i love it!

it's a basic log cabin design, which can at times, seem like a lot of sewing, but oh so rewarding. i've shown the color palette before, which is kind of a redy/turquoisy/blackey/whitey palette, yeah, who doesn't love adding y's... the back is an uber cute apple design, dark pink and red, which i think adds to the country kitchen idea.

the above is an example of one block. Each block is 12 inches in the end, with five shades, starting and ending the with same pattern. i wanted to do the entire quilt like this, all 25 squares, but i fell to the voice of reason, aka the man in the house, who said that he would like it a little less, oh, let's say, busy. (moi? busy? oh wait, yes, constantly! woo hoo!)  therefore, the alternate block is just a single bordered block.

it basically comes out like this...

then i created a border by sewing 3 inch blocks together, just to add a bit more color, sorry, just had to, and voila. quilted in red, a basic criss cross quilt, and binded in birds.

i think this will be our personal fall quilt, though of course, it does not go with the decor. but frankly, when it comes to quilts, who cares! add color!!!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

love that duffy

have to love that duffy song, i think its called "i'm scared." of course, sweet little welsh duffy is talking about love and loss and all that bologna. i am talking about textile arts. practically the same thing...

i had one of those little break downs the other night. i am not original, like, i read some of these blogs, and these people are like crazy on top of everything, and have beautiful fabrics to their credit, or sell a ba-zillion patterns, or oh heck, i dunno, do things awesomely that i don't. blah blah blah. but the truth is, i love colors. they make me happy, as i have said before. and not happy in a lame sunshine and peppermint sort of way, but in a yeah, that is so right on so many levels sort of way. (plus, some of these people, they don't have jobs! snooty to think about, but take what you can get, i always say...)

a friend of mine says that you should just write your ideas down, and you'll have them for later, which, i take to mean, cool your jets, do one thing at a time. bummer. yet true. double bummer. for now i will continue to sew, and notice that each time i finish a piece, it is better than the last... just wait, i finished a quilt tonight! my 50's country kitchen quilt will be up this week, sweet sweet log cabins, and that will have to be it for now.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Ruffle it up!

it's done! it's done!!! my prototype ruffle baby quilt is complete! i love it, yet... well, some have heard me say it is either a flop, or will revolutionize baby quilts. i am still not sure...

i started with a simple idea. ruffles are cute. i mean, come on, they are! especially when they have pink birds, sunbursty swirls, and star shapes incorporated. cute. top that off with a soft flannel backing and how can ruffles go wrong?

ok, well possibly with the fact that there are actually no real ruffles on the Ruffle Baby Quilt. slight hiccup, i know. truth be told, pleats are so much easier, i love their drape, and there is so much more control on a pleat than a ruffle. but the word pleat makes me think of horrible school uniforms and rough, hard edges. ruffles make me think of easy going happiness. hence, ruffle name, pleated look.

these pleats are not ridged of course, after double folding, pressing and stitching one edge i simply double folded and pressed the second and attached the pleat by folding as i went on the machine. no exact counting, each pleat is a bit different. it gives it a more off the cuff, ruffle style.

the hardest bit was figuring out the quilting. but then i asked, why does it have to be traditionally quilted? i mean, though it is a baby quilt, it is on the more decorative side, so it won't have a hard baby life of being dragged and pulled, spit upon, what have you. so i followed a basic old style of quilting, which is that after free hand machine quilting the edges in double rows, i simply did a variation of widths of knot quilting. i grabbed some embroidery floss, did a single stitch and knotted the ends. cute.

(also, why do these pictures look dingy? they look awesome in my photoshop. hmmm.)

Monday, October 18, 2010

let them eat cake!

i am feeling crazy colorful today. not because i am happy or any nonsense like that, but actually because i feel kinda down, run down, you know the type of thing, nothing is actually wrong per se, but ya feel a bit blah. blah. i find that whenever that happens, if i dive into color, the world seems right again.

 i mean, who in their right mind doesn't love pink cake with confetti icing. really, who? i haven't make a pillsbury cake in say, 15 years, but the other day at target, in the new fancy schmancy pantry section, there is was, screaming, i'm easy, cheap, fluffy goodness. i succumbed. i mean, it's pink cake!

it's pretty amazing what color can do... even a shade of the same color can change everything. why does aqua and seafoam green make me coo, while my friend dies for rich purples and jade.

i think it's so important when you quilt to not be afraid of color. of course, it's all about how daring one wants to be, one person's tame is another person's hell in a fabric basket. but maybe it's good to just take a step out, every once and while. color rules.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

what i did with my october...

wait... what did i do with my october? i feel like it's going to be thanksgiving in like a week! and then christmas! holy bajebuz! to be fair, no i haven't been doing a ton of sewing over the last couple of weeks. i had a wedding to attend, general household things that always get you caught up, and frankly, i am working my 8th day in a row tomorrow, so i am kinda tired, ugh. but i will have a couple free days this week, which i am very excited for, as i am positive that i will have two new quilts by the end of the week! yah!

plus, along with my two quilts, my class will have nine! i am so excited about this, it's the last week of my first run as beginning quilting instructor at Spool, and my students will be binding it up this week, which is so cool. i actually love the binding part, (and hate the actual quilting bit). true, mitering corners can be a bit tricky at times, i love the hand sewing that goes into finishing the quilt. there is something about having it all laid out in your lap with a needle and thread, closing it up, inch by inch, to make a real deal quilty quilt. nice.

quilts are perfect this time of year. super perfect. it's still a bit warm, (erm, unless your in vermont, where it's started snowing already, apparently, bah), and you are really keen to do fally things, like make stews and pies, and you want to wear a sweater. that is what it's all about. i should make a scarf... maybe tomorrow.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

autumn gardens

so the temperature has definitely gone down here, just enough that i like it. it's cool out at night when you leave open the window, making sure you snuggle up a bit harder in your quilted blanket. (everyone has a quilted bedspread, right?) i am also dreaming of making apple pies, which, fyi, i have a cute little sewing project for, and i am drinking way more hot beverages. ahhh, fall.

so why not, for fall, have a pretty garden quilt. a little reminder of things past through the year, to keep the days bright while the sun sets earlier...

this is my english garden quilt, the conceptual one, from the original posting, but it has changed some. basically i underestimated my fabric resources. now, that can happen very easily when you don't really plan what you are doing, you just grab a bunch of fat quarters and hope for the best.

i was also having a bit of trouble on creating the "walking path", i.e. the gray area. i tried using shades of gray, but you soon learn that they end up with one being kinda purple, one kinda blue...

it wasn't working, basically. but then, like a little ray of sunshine, my pal lindsay found this in the rubble that is jo-anns...

it gave a nice stone look to add to the palette. so i was able to make a stone walk way without doing any patchwork. which was nice, since this project is a disappearing nine patch, aka, nine patch, sliced in four, resewn again, whew. that's a lot of little squares hombre. in the end, i think it works... though its kinda small. but you know, it's the perfect size for a settee or as a baby play mat, for a true flower child...

Saturday, October 2, 2010

ta dah!

my wall hanging is complete, and i think it's pretty bangin!

it's just cotton duck that i got for like, 6 bucks a yard. i used about 3 yards. it's 60x36, and relatively close to an actual union jack in design. did you know that the cross of saint george is supposed to be 1/5 the width of the flag? crazy.

i tea dyed the fabric to create the subtle shading difference, the bulk was dyed for an hour, the rest, three or so. i must say though, duck doesn't dye quickly, so if you want to really antique it, you need to probably leave it over night. the cutting and sewing is very easy, it's all torn and quickly sewn on the top. you get a neat ragged look...

and for anyone who doesn't know me, i am a lame super anglophile. ask me anything about elizabeth i. i probably know, and if i don't, i'd love to find out! (and of course, this is the union flag, which wasn't used til after elizabeth's time. so there.) but i love it, did i mention i love it? cause i do! ta dah!