Buzzings from a quilter who bumbles her way through life!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Life Really Rocks!

"The best laid plans of mice and men......" Was that Shakespeare? 
 One day I was missing my grandchildren and the next I was on an unexpected trip to see them and help out a little! (My daughter in law had surgery a couple of weeks ago and is needing a little assistance.) Since rocks are plentiful around here, I had my little grandson gather up 26 of the smoothest rocks he could find and he is painting the alphabet on them. (I saw this idea on Pinterest. There is a lady who paints beautiful rocks. Sorry I don't have her link.) His sister couldn't resist anything artsy, so she is helping out! He mentioned that the last time I was here (in early July) I spent "SO MUCH time with that sewing machine!" (I was sewing with "the girls".) So, I am helping him clean and organize his room and whatever else we find to do that is not associated with a sewing machine. We'll put up a shelf for his cars and we're cleaning out the clothes that he has outgrown.  If the opportunity presents itself, I may drive to Hanford and check out the quilt shop there later. I will be here for two weeks! Before that, I need to do some "manly" stuff with that grandson! He just had his 5th birthday, so thank goodness it doesn't have to be TOO manly!
I was reminded by this little bird of how important it is in life to learn to adapt to the situations you find yourself in. He was in the LA airport, either by choice or mistake.
 He was very brave as he walked around cleaning up the crumbs all those messy travelers had left behind. He had grown used to people and sensed that they wouldn't hurt him.
 Just like this little bird, we learn to adapt or we don't survive! Flexibility makes our life so much easier.
 Until next time........

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Monday, August 20, 2012

Pillow Slipcover 101, Tutorial

from this..... this.

 Do you have an old throw pillow that doesn't fit your decor anymore? How about one that is just worn out? You can VERY easily make a slipcover for it. You can even make a slipcover for every holiday or season and change it out when you want! This means you can have one for autumn, one for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.

 This tutorial is for my daughter in law, who is just learning to sew.  If you know of someone who wants to learn and to save LOTS of money on home decor, send them here! This is a basic project that is so simple many of us never think to do it! 
You can use ANY size pillow. Even a bed pillow will work. 
This is how it's done:
1. Measure your pillow in both directions. A stiff ruler will not wrap around the rounded pillow, so you need something that will. If you have a cloth tape measure, use that, but many of you will not have one. Simply use a piece of ribbon or even string, put one end at the seam at one side and pull across to the seam on the other side. Put a pin on the string or ribbon or hold it with your thumbnail.

 2. Take it over to a ruler and stretch it out to see how long it is. That is your measurement. Mine was 12". Now you need to measure it the other direction, instead of the width, you need the length. Mine was 13". So my pillow is 12" x 13".

 3. Because my seam will be 1/4", I need to account for that when I cut my fabric. I will have a seam on all sides, so I add 1/2" to the length and 1/2" to the width. My fabric will be cut 12 1/2" x 13 1/2". Only cut one piece that size because our back will be in two pieces.
4. Cut two pieces for the back, each piece 1/2 the width plus about 3" for each piece. You only need to "half" one of the measurements. Since my piece is 13" long, half of that is 6 1/2 plus 3" is 9 1/2". So I cut two pieces each 12" x 9 1/2". The 3" is not critical. You just need the two pieces to overlap. You can make that overlap as much as you want as long as you can stuff the pillow in. The bigger the pillow, the deeper the overlap you should have. With a bed pillow, I might overlap the two back pieces as much as 8".
You notice the glue stick I have there? You need to turn your raw edges under. It is much easier to turn them with a glue stick before sewing. First turn it under about 1/4" with the glue stick. Press with an iron.
5. Turn it under one more time and press again.
6. Now sew this down on both pieces.
7. Lay both pieces down and overlap them so that they measure 13 1/2". Pin them together at the overlap so that they stay together.
 8. Lay the pinned back and the front together with the right sides together on the inside.
9. Sew it together all the way around. You don't need to leave a space for turning right side out.
10. Turn it right sides out through the overlapped space. Use a chopstick or the closed points of your scissors to push the corners out.

11. Open up the overlapped area so you can put the pillow in.
12. Put one end of the pillow in.......
13. ....and then the other. You're finished! Wasn't that easy? Now when you see a thrift store throw pillow or you have one you don't like, you know how to change it! I used plain cotton, but you can use drapery fabric or anything you can sew. Give it a try! You'll be so proud of yourself!
Until next time....

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Monday, August 13, 2012

Pinata Pillow

 Have you ever had a pinata at a birthday or holiday party? They are very common around here and they come in just about every shape, color, and theme you could imagine.
This little pillow reminds me of a pinata. I made it using scraps and it was very easy to make. 
I have a free pattern download just for you, my loyal readers, at my Craftsy storefront. Just click on the button at the top of my sidebar and it will take you there. You will see the pillow among my quilts. (While you're there, take a look around. I am currently uploading all my patterns to this site. It is taking a while for me to do that, but as I do, I'm making a note of it on my "My Patterns" page at the top of this post.)

This little pillow is easy to make! It might be a nice Christmas gift for someone you know. The colors can be changed. How about one in a gradation from white, to grays, to black? Or maybe stripes of school colors? Use your imagination.   
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Friday, August 10, 2012

Finished Granny Square Quilt

 Quilting and binding is finished on my Granny Square quilt. It shrunk down quite a bit after washing (almost 10"!!!!), but is still a nice 52" square (from 60") - but is still just right for cuddling under. I love the way it feels. It's soft and just heavy enough to really feel substantial. I would have loved to drape it over one of those old fashioned metal cribs, but I don't know of anyone who has one! (I think I need one as a prop!)
 I quilted around all the squares and inside every other one, to give a quilted "checkerboard" appearance. Yes, I used stippling, which I know the quilt police say is overdone and passe,  but I love the antique look it gives and that is what I was going for. (I don't much care for anyone telling me what IS and IS NOT okay with quilting. Who do they think they are?There are enough rules out there already without coming up with more!  I picture them clicking their tongues and shaking their heads. These are the same people who tell you that wearing white shoes after Labor Day or before Easter is taboo. It's YOUR quilt! Enjoy and express yourself unless you're quilting for someone else or entering it in a judged show - in which case the quilt police rule! I'm smiling as I write this, but I do mean it!
Until next time......

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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Adding a Flange to a Block - tutorial, My Granny Square Quilt

 Call it a Granny Square block or one of it's old fashioned names: Courthouse Steps,
 Grandmother's Pride,
 Beggar Block, 
 Trip Around the World, 
 Basket Weave,
 Five Crosses,
 or Garden Path, but this simple block has been all over the blog world lately. I decided to use up some reproduction Depression era fabric I had to make a few of these blocks. They were just as easy and fun to make as everyone has suggested. I won't "reinvent the wheel" here and tell you how to make one (just Google "Granny Square Block" and you will find many tutorials for it). Mine is not finished, as you can see. I have it layered, but I will start quilting on it today. (I couldn't resist adding a little applique, also a design from the era, in the center of my quilt top.)

 I added a little flange to my block to "set it off". I will show you how to do that, just in case you've never done it. This can be done around an entire quilt border and can often add just a touch of color when you need just a little something!Here you can see it a little better. The flange is like a piping, but without the cording inside. It is easier than an extremely narrow border, but gives the same look.

1. To make a flange, but a strip of your chosen fabric 1" wide (for a 1/4" or narrower flange.) fold it in half lengthwise and press well, using spray starch to give it body. Cut two strips the width of the block and pin, raw edges to raw edges just like a binding, to two opposite sides of the block. Sew on using a 1/4" seam. (One little trick I use is to turn it so that the edge of my 1/4" foot is against the FOLDED side and sew it on. That way, I am sure I am leaving 1/4" to be exposed when I open it.)

 2. Lay your border strip over the flange you've just sewn and sew it down, catching the flange in the seam. (Another trick here is to turn it over so that you can sew on top of the seam you've just sewn. OR sew just to the side of that seam. ) Press so that the flange lays outside the center block. You will be pressing the seams to the inside of the block to do this.
3. For the next two sides, you need to have the flange line up to the previous flanges. First, using your glue stick, turn under a tiny bit so that you do not have a raw edge. 
4. Line up the end of the new flange with the outer edge of the already sewn flange, as shown. (The one you've already sewn extends out a scant 1/4" from the seam and you need to make the new one match where it starts.) Pin in place. When you get to the opposite end, cut it about 1/4" PAST the outer edge of the flange and turn the raw edge under (just like you did the end above - using a glue stick) so that it lines up with the sewn flange. (This all sounds much more difficult than it is. You will understand it when you try it.)
5. Again, you will lay your border strip over the flange and the previous border and sew it as you did above. 

 Here is my quilt top with the blocks all sewn together with sashing. My sashing is a Depression era reproduction print. I'm not sure it was the best choice, but I was going for a subtle, old look. I'm hoping I like it better when it's quilted. This top is 60" square. The white around the edges is the batting. When I finish quilting it, I will show you how it turned out. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that quilting and washing will do miracles! I don't dislike this quilt, but I don't love it yet. I think that if I had used darker fabrics around the outer "ring" of squares, I might have liked it better. 
PS - Take a look at this Granny Square quilt! This is what inspired me to make one. Thank you, Pokey! Pokey Dot Quilting

Until next time.....

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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Winner of my Giveaway!

The winner of my giveaway from the Think Christmas blog hop is...

Oh know I collect old world Santa' I NEED that panel! My dream Christmas present..don't laugh..would be to sing with Neil Diamond!! I know...goofy..but I SO LOVE his music!

(I used the random number generator. How fun that Lana is the winner! I will be contacting her by email!)

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