Tuesday, January 31

Chase away the January Blues Giveaway!

Every evening for the past few nights, I've been playing in my box of blue and white snowflake themed fabrics.  I cut two 5" charm squares and one 9 1/2" square from each piece of fabric in my stash.  I have an idea for a quilt that will combine the charm squares with the 9 1/2" squares.  I made two piles of the charm squares.........one for me and one for one of you.................
I promised there would be a giveaway today and what you see in the photo is what you could win. I think there are 40 charm squares.....all different and also a bit of fabric and a pre-cut wool snowman in case you'd like to make my "Charlie's Snowman" quilt. There is also a cute little ceramic candy dish and I might just add some chocolate to it when I put these goodies in the mail. So........start leaving your name and e-mail link and just tell me if you've ever built a real snowman.  I'll have my Random Number Man (a.k.a. my husband)draw a lucky winner on Saturday, Feb. 4 at 6:00 p.m.  The Random Number Man is a little "under the weather" but hopefully he'll be better by the end of the week. Because of that, things are little "off-schedule" around here and I don't have my clay project finished. I'll be working on that this morning and will get it posted later this afternoon. There will be a clay "carrot nose, coal eyes and raisins" for the snowman's mouth that will be included in the winning package. Go now and add your name for a chance to ........... chase away the January Blues!

The giveaway is closed. Winner will be announced noon, Sunday, Feb. 5th. :-)

And the winner is..........GrammaSheri at TheDesertRat  :-)

Monday, January 30

What's on the line at the end of January?

Stars are on the line!!  And isn't this quilt a beauty?  I just love it!  

It's another vintage quilt bought at a farm auction by mother and dad. I'm thinking it could be the 1950's, maybe 1940's, not sure at all. While the picture was taken last September on a beautiful day "just right for picture-taking", I knew there would be a day in winter when it would be just right for "posting to my blog".  This day was that "just right day" for a little "vintage quilt sunshine"!  Can you believe it's the last Monday in January? In just a couple days, February will roll in and I'll start thinking "Hearts" but January always makes me think of stars. So often I remember winter nights and looking up into the sky at the stars. They always seemed to shine brighter on really cold nights. This quilt would be most welcome on a really cold night!!  I like the yellow centers on the stars, which almost makes them look like flowers. And as mild as our weather is these days, it won't be long before there might be real flowers popping up!
And with the flowers would come spring winds.  It was fall winds that were blowing when I took these photos but I just loved watching the quilts sway back and forth..............
 Look at that green grass in the background and all those green lush leaves!
The wind would pick up the quilt............
 and flap the corners in and out...........
and then the quilt settled down for a perfect picture..............
Hope this quilt makes you smile like it makes me smile! 
Happy Monday everyone!!!

Saturday, January 28

Party Time!

Last Saturday at this time, we were hosting a party at our house for my husband's friends and co-workers. It was a great night and everyone had a good time. We had a lot of food and so there was plenty to eat and everyone said they enjoyed the evening. The weather cooperated, too, which is not always the case in Minnesota in January!

The party was a celebration of two occasions..........one was the celebration of our new house which is now five years old. Takes us awhile to celebrate. LOL! It was also a time to celebrate friendships because the company my husband works for is down-sizing so some friends have already been let go, others soon will be and some in the fall which is when my husband's end-date is scheduled. He and at least one other co-worker at the party have worked at the same place for 37 years! That's a long time and one often sees co-workers more than family so they almost become family. Many years ago I worked for a company that went through more than one "down-sizing" and it is not all that much fun. As many of you know, your work friends are often a significant part of your daily life and when that ends, well, it's kind of a bummer.  Ah, but we are already planning an outdoor party for when the weather warms up so we'll invite everyone back again.  And then.........a funny thing happened at the party when I took the ladies - both co-workers and wives of co-workers up to my sewing room. They were excited about a lot of the projects they saw in my room and especially my penny rugs. Soooooooooooo.........this happy group..........

is going to come back in April and we're going to take over my husband's basement TV room and have a Penny Rug Party. My quilty friends know how I love to party so we will definitely have a fun time!  If I have the names right........they are left to right.......

Rose, Jeanie, Laura, Margaret, Kathy, Stephanie, Berniece, Laura, and Nora. 

It was Jeanie's idea that we use Steve's area because we can set up tables and spread out. Great idea, so I got the okay from him and we are making our plans. He wondered, though, why they would be interested in learning how to make penny rugs. And my reply to him..........why does he spend time watching cars go around in circles every Sunday afternoon during NASCAR season? We all have our hobbies, don't we?
I don't usually post on the weekend anymore but just had to share how much fun we had at our party and more fun to come. You all have a lovely Sunday!

Friday, January 27

Building a Snowman - Part 2 Charlie's Snowman

Here in our area of Minnesota, there is not enough real snow to actually make a snowman. Making a snowman quilt is the next best thing! If you have made the pieced fabric base for this little snowman quilt, then it is time to build the snowman. Here's a close-up of the snowman on the original quilt I designed. You can see his long carrot nose made of clay and his coal eyes and raisin mouth. In part 3 of this tutorial, I'll share how you can make these features for your snowman.  
Right now, we need to "build" our snowman. You can use wool, woolfelt, acrylic felt, fake fur, flannel........anything that looks a bit fluffy and white for your snowman. Whatever you choose should measure about  8 1/"2 by 11".  You will also need a piece of 8 1/2" x 11" paper and some canned foods like those in the photo below...........
Choose three can in graduated sizes and position on the paper as shown below...........
Trace around the cans and remove them and you should see the "rough draft" of your snowman pattern..................
Take your pencil and sketch around the circles to add fullness as desired. :-) When your snowman is the proportion you desire, take a black marker and trace along the lines to create your pattern.
Cut out the pattern and pin it to your fabric, then cut it out. You may wish to adhere fusible product to your fabric and press in place. Or you may just want to pin and stitch. Here you can see my snowman is positioned and ready to be stitched..............
The snowman that is wearing a hat, is wool and was stitched by hand with embroidery floss. I cut two round black circles from woolfelt for his eyes and a long, odd-shaped triangle of woolfelt for his "carrot" nose.  The mouth is made with French knots and in each "coal" eye, I added a small white French knot for a twinkle in his eyes!  I freehand cut the hat and didn't care if it was perfect for no snowman's hat is perfect!  The hat, his arms and the tree were all hand-stitched with embroidery floss.

The snowman with clay features was machine stitched. The fabric I used was a very low-pile fur. The arms are left-over scraps of brown cotton backed with Heat 'n Bond and pressed in place. I cut a strip of wool plaid for the scarf. The piece was cut in half with one piece stitched to each side of the snowman's neck, then tied.
So.........start building your snowman and think about this.........maybe your snowman would like to visit Hawaii so perhaps he/she should wear a grass skirt. Or maybe your snowman wants to go skiing, so cut some strips and add skis. You could make two snowmen and one could be a Mr. and one could be a Mrs. :-)  Maybe they could have kids! Make a whole snowman family!!!!  Whatever you do, have fun! I'll be doing a couple more blogposts and then will post the tutorial for making the clay features on Tuesday, January 31. Come back then to learn how to work with polymer clay and that giveaway I mentioned .........well, I will end the month of January with a little "snow-themed" giveaway. Til then, have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 25

A Tutorial for "Charlie's Snowman".........

In my last post, I shared a small wall quilt called "Charlie's Snowman". In this post, I'm going to share the steps to make your own snowman quilt. You can give your snowman a name other than Charlie. This one below is "Sam". I wanted to try a bit of a different look and added a hat for the snowman and also a tree.............

The eyes, nose, mouth and hat on Sam are made of woofelt. In the quilt in my last post, the snowman's features are made from clay. I'll be sharing how to do both and you can decide when we get to that step. :-)  The tutorial for this little quilt will be posted in three parts. Today is Part 1 and you will make the pieced background. In my next post (Friday, Jan.27), we'll do the snowman/Part 2 and then the following post, Part 3, will be on making the features from clay or felt.

I went straight to my stash for the fabrics I needed for this project. I'm not buying any fabric this year so I must use what I have on hand. I had a lot of snow themed prints. I live in Minnesota and we usually get a lot of snow. Not this year, but we do finally have a few inches on the ground.

Let's get started on Part 1....................

Step 1. Cut one piece from a darker blue cotton - 12 1/2" x 16 1/2"  and one piece from a lighter blue cotton - 6" x 12  1/2".
Step 2. Take the lighter blue piece and position a strip (about an inch wide) of fusible product (I use Heat 'n Bond Lite) along one edge of the reverse side of fabric. Then press per product directions. Remove paper.
Step 3. Along this fused edge, cut a wavy line as shown in the photo below.........
Step 4. Position the lighter blue piece on your dark piece and press along fused edge so that the two pieces become one as shown in photo below.........
Step 5. Cut eight 2 1/2" corner squares. You can see that I "fussy-cut" the fabric that I chose for my corners. It's not necessary but if you have fabric that works for this, it makes the quilt that much sweeter. Set aside four of the squares for the second row. After you cut the corner squares, cut the following 2 1/2" wide strips (I like a red row here).......two that are 12 1/2" long and two that are 16 1/2" long. See lay-out in photo below............
Step 6. Sew the 16 1/2" strips to each side of the center panel. Then sew one square to each end of the 12 1/2" strips. Press.
Step 7.  Sew the top and bottom strips in place and press. You are ready for the final row.
Step 8. Cut the following 2 1/2" strips (I chose a medium blue for this one) ......... two that are 16 1/2" and two that are 20 1/2" long.
Step 9. Sew the 20 1/2" strips to each side of the center panel. Then sew one square to each end of the 16 1/2" strips. Press.
 Step 10. Sew the top and bottom strips in place and press.
Your pieced quilt base is ready for your snowman.  You'll need wool or woolfelt for the snowman. It works best as cotton is too lightweight for me. This is your snowman, though, so you can use cotton if you prefer. You have a couple days to make the base so I'll see you on Friday and we'll build a snowman!! Oh, and the little giveaway.......it will be posted when I share Part 3.  :-)
Have a good day!

Monday, January 23

What's on the line?

If you follow my blog, you may recognize this little quilt on the line.......... It's one I made about a dozen years ago called "Charlie's Snowman"...........
I took the photo in September of 2010. You can see by the lush green in the background that it was a beautiful fall day and not wintery at all. I shared the quilt and it's story in November of 2010 in this post.......... go here. I told you all that I'd share the pattern and a tutorial for the quilt in January. And then came January and I had to post a "change in plans"...... go here for that post. After that, it seemed that the year just "got away from me". There were a lot of "behind the blog" family events and doctor appointments and just plain Stuff! Then the weather warmed up and who needed a snowman in the summer?!?!?!  But now it's January, a whole year later and I am going back through my blog to see what I need to catch up on. Going to start with this project and then slowly but surely I'll fulfill a couple other tutorial promises that I've made. :-)  Today, I'll be taking photos of the steps to make this little snowman quilt. Check back on Wednesday, January 25th and you'll find the pattern and a tutorial for this project. There might even be a giveaway of some fabric.......and maybe even some chocolate, too. :-)
Have a good Monday!

You'll find the tutorial in three parts.......it begins here.

Monday, January 16

What's on the line?

Pretty hexagon flowers are on the line!!! Last Monday, I shared a vintage quilt that was bordered in lavendar/purple and here is another one............

This one just sings "Spring" and I thought it would be a good one to share mid-January. I thought there would be lots of snow on the ground by now but we only have about an inch of snow cover.  Obviously, the photo above was not taken now as that's some pretty green grass in the background. It was taken last September on a beautiful fall day.

Here is a bit of a close-up of the hexagons on the quilt..............

This is another one that was bought at auction by my mother and dad. I love the variety of colors and patterns in this quilt. It is just so colorful and cheery. Great way to start the week!
Happy Monday everyone!!

Thursday, January 12

Waiting for the snow..........

I That's right............waiting for the snow. It's been a little warm lately......50 degree temps earlier this week, almost no snow on the ground and that is just not normal for Minnesota at this time of the year.  We got a teeny bit of snow on Wednesday and lots of wind. I am ready for the snow and cold. I mean really ready for the cold and snow........just look at my scarf..................................
It's perfect for keeping me warm on a cold day! 
The scarves are called Infinity scarves and they are so fun and easy to make. I bought the furry fabric at Firefly*Quilt*Shop and I made three of them like the one I am wearing in this photo.  They were Christmas gifts my daughter and my son's girlfriend and I "gifted" me, too. LOL! The scarves are so warm and soft. Great for when I'm walking the dog which is not my favorite thing to do, but now I don't mind so much.   :-)

I enjoyed making the scarves so much that I also made one for my niece, Sue Ellen. I found the tiger print fur at Hancock Fabrics and made her a scarf, then trimmed a fleece hat and plain mittens with left-over fur for a very "fashionable" look.

If you want to know how to make a scarf..........it's simple. Just take a WOF (width of fabric) piece of fabric that is 12" to 18" wide. The width you choose will depend on the fabric and the fluff that you want in your scarf. The fur pieces I purchased were pre-cut at 12" widths. I made the one for Sue Ellen a little wider.
You just fold that strip in half and stitch it up........but ......... you leave about two inches unstitched at each end............

Then you turn it inside out and pin the two ends together and stitch across the ends.............

Then you should have an opening about 4-5" wide that you can just slipstitch closed and your furry scarf is finished!

I called in a couple of my Bear Buddies to model these scarves that went off to a couple blogging/Facebook friends that make me smile. They both have dogs and I know they will welcome the warmth of the scarves when they are out walking their doggies. :-)
These scarves are so easy to make and so fun to wear. I have plans to make more from fur and even have some other soft fabrics that may end up as scarves. If you want to know more on how to make these, just google "Infinity Scarves" and you'll find plenty of inspiration!
And just in case you all are wondering...........nope, I haven't bought any cotton quilting fabric so I am remaining faithful to my challenge. And boy, am I glad these scarves are poly faux fur!!  LOL!
Have a good day!

Monday, January 9

What's on the line?

Something purple is on the line today! Well, actually, it was "on the line" last September when I took several quilt photos.  This is another quilt bought at auction by my dad and mother.  It's not fancy but someone put a lot of work into the applique..........

Here's a close-up of the design that was blanket-stitched to the white blocks...........

And another look at the full-sized quilt..........

I think this block would be fun to do in wool. Add that to my ever-growing list of "gonna make this someday quilts".  :-)
While the photos of these quilts were taken last September, I actually could have taken photos of quilts outside yesterday or today because we have almost no snow on the ground and temps in the 40's. It is hard to believe that it is really winter here in Minnesota!

I don't know if it's the good weather or what, but I have had the "cleaning and sorting bug" this past week. I finally unpacked the last of the four boxes from our move here in 2006. And in the process, I decided it was time to toss some stuff. Nothing of value and I let my kids take what they wanted, then some things will get donated. I was also rearranging my stuff in my kitchen cupboards and so between moving boxes and climbing up and down on the ladder..........well, I didn't do my back any good at all. So, the last two days I have pretty much done nothing and not planning much for the next couple of days either. I did a little sewing and have a project I'll share in my next post. Maybe by then we'll have some snow?
Have a fabulous Monday!!

Tuesday, January 3

Sweet Angels..............

Another Christmas photo of some sweet vintage angels. Well, I thought they were vintage when I found them at a local thrift shop a couple years ago. Then I looked on the bottom of the two larger ones and the date stamped on them is 1981. Not quite vintage but they look it and I really like them. There are tiny bulbs in the candles that run on batteries. Yes, I really like them. They sort of remind me of the Angel designs that I drew in 2006. I offered the patterns here on my blog and am sharing them free again in my Seasons BOM Yahoo group. If you like to do Redwork or other embroidery, just click on the Angel Connection button in the sidebar, join my group and you'll get a new Angel design the first of each month. January and February angels have been posted to the group.

This year is off to a good start. In just the last couple of days, I've caught up on a few things that have been waiting for my time and it feels good to get them done!  Some of you may remember that I mentioned that I am not going to buy any cotton quilting fabric during this coming year. It might not be easy but I'm determined to not buy any quilting fabric and just use the fabrics that are right here in my sewing room. Oh, and in the boxes in the basement. Um, and there is a bit of quilting fabric in each of the bedrooms. So you seeeeeeeeeeee......I don't need to buy any fabric because I already bought a storefull and have been storing it at my house. LOL! My husband doesn't think I can do this. He's seen how much I love to buy fabric. He just doesn't know how committed I am to this challenge, plus, ........ there is nothing that works better at getting me to do something than when he tells me I will never be able to do it. Sound familiar?
Have a good day!

Monday, January 2

What's on the line, uh, make that..what's on the tree?

I am still in the "Christmas Spirit" and so instead of a quilt, I'm going to share more of the ornaments that hang on our Christmas tree.  I thought I'd tell you a bit more about them. Many I've made and some were my made by my mother, my daughter and by friends. Each one is a treasure. Yesterday, I shared this photo..........
The four straw ornaments were some of the first that we added to our tree. Bought years ago in San Diego. I often cluster ornaments from special places together. Hanging the ornaments on the tree is like opening a book of memories!  The little Joy ornament was made by my mother, Mary.
The Joy ornament is this photo came straight from Hobby Lobby. :-)  The little egg ornament is a real egg. I will eventually post a tutorial on how to make these egg ornaments. The Christmas tree is felt and is one of several that I made when I taught ornament classes at Murphy's Landing and at Community Ed classes. The snowman is another one I designed and you can find the tutorial for him here . I started a blog to share my ornaments but then life and family health issues just kept me from getting back to it. This year will be different. More ornaments tutorials will be posted!
The Santa in the photo above and the one below were made my mother in the 1960's. I am sure the patterns were in an issue of Pack-o-Fun or perhaps Workbasket magazine! The little snowman is just a sketch drawn on a styrofoam plate and then glittered and embellished with puffy paints.
In the late 1970's, daughter Collette and I drew designs on balsa wood and then colored them with marking pens. You can see the one with the candle in the photo above. She was about eight when we made a dozen different ornaments from balsa wood.
Some of my favorite ornaments are the ones made from real chicken eggs like the pink angel above and the blue angel below........
The angel made from tulle and with the bright yellow hair (my grandson thought that color was a little bright) was made in 1971 while we were stationed overseas in Japan. My father-in-law knew how much I enjoyed crafting and tucked in some supplies with a package they sent.
During our time in Japan, I loved to trip to an area called Asakusabashi that was known for it's dolls and craft items. I found the snowflakes you see in these photos. They are thin but sturdy foam and were plain white. I embellished them with pretty pins and beads. There are six of them and they are usually the first ornaments that I put on the tree.
I also covered styrofoam balls with velvet and ribbons, trims and cut-outs from Christmas cards like the blue velvet one in the photo above.
I made lots of felt ornaments like the heart above and enjoyed teaching felt ornaments to kids and adults!
Sometimes Collette and I made patchwork ornaments and sometimes we cross stitched designs like those above.
I love the embroidered felt ornaments above and remember when we made these for a church bazaar. I remember someone found them in a craft magazine but it was years ago so I am not able to provide a source.
Many of my ornaments were gifts like the quilt block one below that my sister gave me in memory of our Grandma Goldie. The horse was bought at a craft show that I attended with my friend, Sandy. Every year it reminds me of her and the many craft shows we went to together.
Almost all the ornaments on this branch were made by my friend, Judith. We connected over Crazy Quilting more than a dozen years ago and when we held our Christmas potlucks we often exchanged ornaments. Judith made me the Scandinavian elf.......the twig tree......the knitted snowman and stocking......the basket of yarns and the fabric covered ball..........
and the best one is a tiny soft-sculture sleeping Santa in a twig bed! He has to be seen in person to appreciate the detail!
In October of this past year, I taught a county extension class in decorating real eggs. This next October (2012), I'm going to teach the Christmas tree ornaments made from clay.......
Some are embellished with bits of clay, others with rhinestones and some with those old cooking crystals (remember those?). Easy to make and I'll share the tutorial next fall.
The Redwork ornament in the photo above is one I designed and shared with the Prior Lake Quilter's several years ago. I only ever made a couple but my friend, Marianne, made a couple dozen for her tree that year!

Some ornments recall family and friends who are no longer with us like the candy cane snowman. It was a gift from my friend, Cindy. She is the one that left me all her fabric and I shared about it in this post.
 There are a couple dozen bears that are nestled in the branches of my tree.........
and one of my newest ornaments is this felt Reindeer from blogging friend, Cindy in Arizona. Makes me smile when I see this one. :-)
Every year, I make something new and the red holly trimmed ornament was this year's addition to our tree. I promised I would show how I made it but never found time before Christmas. I promise I will show you eventually. :-)  The unique Snowman ornament above and also the Santa below are two favorites. Collette and I went to a large craft event near Waseca, MN and we each bought these ornaments. They are wood slabs that are diecut with the snowman or Santa outline and then hand-painted!
There are spool themed ornaments that were gifts from friends and a little wool stocking made by my friend, Sue, that remind me of special friends that I don't see as often since we moved. But, as I said.........hanging the ornaments on my tree is like opening a Memory Book. I would show you more but I'll save a couple hundred for another day. :-)
Have a good Monday! I'll be watching that Rose Bowl Parade in the morning and then doing some sewing. I'm learning how to use that new sewing machine. Quilty projects will be coming up soon............
"Peace can be found in the piecing of a quilt."
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