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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Zebra Tapestry Fabric

I was at Joanne's Fabric store yesterday afternoon and I bought 8 yards of this zebra tapestry fabric.
 It was on the flat fold table and was $6.00/yd.  They had 50% off that table, so it was reduced to $3/yd.  Then I used my 20% off  card they sent me, which was going to expire on Friday.  So I paid less than $2.50/yd!  What a bargain!

This morning I started cutting and sewing.  I did not realize what a mess tapestry fabric is--threads everywhere--I had to use some sticky lint remover sheets to get it off the carpet.  By the way, that's a good tip--if you have tons of threads on the floor and don't want them to get tangled in your vacuum cleaner, lint remover sheets work great to get the majority off the floor.

After about 4 hours, I had my project done. Any idea what I might be making?  Did you notice that plate up toward the top of the first photo?  That zebra plate is the reason I bought this fabric.

You can see what I did with it by clicking here to get to my tablescape blog.

What a fun project day I had! This entire project took less time than making one of the paper-pieced snowman blocks!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

It Takes 5 hours to Make One of these Paper-Pieced Snowman Blocks

 I know that because I just finished sewing for 5 straight hours to complete one--not even a coffee  break  (If anyone is considering buying this pattern from Paper Panache, I thought you might like to get an idea of the time involved). This guy is so darn cute that I think he is worth every minute.

 Now I have two somewhat different snowmen.
Of course I made a few time-consuming errors, like having to redo this piece because I did not leave a seam allowance.  I did not discover the error until I was sewing all the sections together and this one did not quite fit.

I could not believe I did that!  I also missed the same arm piece I messed up on the first block and had to do a little picking out and resewing.  I think I could complete a block in an hour less if I did not have to fix any errors.

I like scarf #2 way better than #1. Right from the pattern picture I did not like the scarf with that contrasting band through the middle, so this time I made everything blend in.  I also like the darker brown arms on #2. 

I plan to make them all slightly different. It's much more fun than making the exact same block six times.  I think the gift will be the blue/green polka dot fabric of the tree in #2.  Maybe #3 will have a purple hat and scarf and a red bow on the gift...if I use some of the same fabrics then they will all go together when placed around the table.  I will have to make at least one more with the lighter arms, so he does not stick out from all the others. 

My challenge to myself is to make the next one without having to redo any of the 20 units!  (I thought there were only 19 sections, but I just counted and there are 20) I probably won't show any more until I get them all done.  I am hoping to have them done by the end of January. If I don't do them all right away, I will end up using the fabric I need for something else.  Been there, done that--way too many times!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Gifts from My Talented Sister

I have a sister who also loves to sew. She has five sewing machines--Juki quilting machine, embroidery machine, serger, etc.  We had our family Christmas Eve party at her home. I left with all of this loot!
The peace sign  fabric items are luggage tags. There is a rice pack, a little make-up bag, a pin cushion, some mittens, a pair of knitted socks, and a little sewing accessory holder that goes over the arm of a favorite chair.

She took us all into her sewing room and had us pick items from her boxes of neatly-organized gifts, like these pincushions....
The mittens have nice embroidery detail. Here we all are modeling our mittens:

Oh, I almost forgot--she also made us all a pair of knitted slippers. I am wearing them right now. Hang on while I run to get my camera and take a picture.  

Look how they match my polka dot holiday jammies!

Thank you Sister T for all the wonderful gifts. You are a very generous sewer/knitter.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Snowman Chair Covers?

It was not quite as easy as I expected to complete all the sections for Mr. Snowman.  I had three wrong pieces in this pre-assembly jigsaw, which I did not discover until I began sewing them all together. Tiny lettering of  bl2 and br2 are pretty hard to differentiate when you are  sewing along in a paper piecing daze--I had a blue tree trunk and a blue hand before I redid them.
But I finally figured it all out and got the 16-inch block finished.
Now I am thinking of making 5 more and turning them into chair covers for my dining room.  I pinned one on a different chair cover to get an idea of what it would look like. Hmmmm...perfect size....
I could use them for at least six weeks each year. It would be a lot of work to make five more and then make the covers, but I have 11 months to get them finished.   We shall see.

Aimee, is the gift box the polka dot fabric you were asking about?  If so, it came from Joanne's just a few weeks ago.  Since Joanne's is the only fabric store in my town, most of my fabric comes from there.

I hope everyone is enjoying the last few hours of their Christmas weekend.  I know I had a busy and fun weekend.  It feels good, though, to have it all over.  Now I can just sit at the computer and check out the blogs.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Mr. Snowman has only 3 More Pieces to Go

I sewed for about two hours and accomplished a lot last night.

Once I get the last three pieces down, I have to figure out to the puzzle goes together. . . not always an easy task!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Snowman Paper-Pieced Block is Underway

I was thrilled Saturday to get my Paper Panache patterns.  I decided to make the snowman first. Whoa---there are a lot of pieces to this 16-inch block- A to T  - I think that is 19 different sections.  These patterns come without the seam allowances, so I had to cut them all out and then add seam allowances to each piece  before I could even begin to sew.  That is a major task and I don't really like doing it. It set me back at least a day in beginning to sew.
Here are all 19 sections---I bet you are thinking that they don't look all that intimidating.

Finally this morning I was ready to begin sewing.  I only had about twenty minutes before I had to leave for work so I picked three pieces that should have been very easy to sew.  I guess I was trying to hurry too much because I made two mistakes and had to redo them!

Now that I am home from work, I am ready to sew a few more.  Here are the 3 completed sections and the 16 sections that still need sewing...

I think they  may look slightly more intimidating when viewed individually!  I just hope I don't continue to make silly errors like I did this morning! 

Friday, December 17, 2010

That's My Plan, But I Can't Guarantee that I will Stick to it!

My mind was racing like crazy this morning as I thought about what to do with the tree blocks. 

Since they are snowy, they would look great with the 16-inch snowman block that I ordered from Paper Panache.  I just need to figure out how to make them fit as a border. Why do I always do this backwards?  If I had made the snowman first, then I would have made the tree blocks at whatever size I needed.  But, no, that would make too much sense! LOL. Anyway I already made the trees as 7-inch finished blocks, so that is what I need to work with.

So I will need to add a border around the snowman block - 5 inches to get to 21 which is divisible by 7. Since there are two sides, the border needs to be half of 5 inches, or 2.5 inches.

So I am thinking a snowball block would be perfect.  Imagine the snowballs being white, not blue as you see here with my amateurish attempt see what it would look like.

I think I would also need to add a .75-inch border around the snowman to make the 2.5-inch snowballs fit..don't even try to follow my mathematical thought line.....I am confused myself! This pic is not to scale - I would need 7 2.5" snowballs across the bottom + one in each corner.  9 snowballs x 2.5 inches = 22.5 inches.   Snowman block at 16 inches + .75 inch border + .75 inch border + 2.5 snowball + 2.5 snowball = 22.5 inches!  It sounds like it would work. 

It would like something like this:

and this part would finish at 35 x 35 inches. It would be a nice medallion center for a king-size quilt. But, oh my, that would be a ton more work.   I think I will have to think of something smaller.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Winter Tree Blocks

 I have been waiting to get the new foundation pieced patterns I ordered. I thought for sure they would be here today and was disappointed to see they were not when I got home from work.  I guess it takes a few days longer than normal to get from CA to MI during the holiday rush.

Since I had the urge to sew I settled on some 7-inch winter tree blocks.

 These three traditional trees took a bit less than one hour to complete.   They are nice, but predictable.  I decided to do three more contemporary trees.
 I like these fun polka dot trees. They are so whimsical.  I wonder how they would work together with the traditional blocks.....
I think I like them together. What do you think?  I have no idea what I will do with these, but I have satisfied my urge to create something tonight.  One day they will tell me what they should be.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

It's so Exciting to Begin a New Mystery Block

Paper Panache just put out the new mystery block. It is Christmas themed,  and I am in the mood to make a Christmas block, so I started it today.
There are a lot of pieces to this one.

and only 5 fabrics. These are the 5 I chose with guidance from the directions.

They are pretty dull. I hope the block looks better when it's finished.

I made Block A and was surprised to see what evolved.
 Before I made this block, I thought  that it would be some sort of Christmas star....... now I am baffled.....obviously this is a bow, but it seems way too big to be a gift under a tree (as the color of he fabric would lead me to believe). 

These mysteries are such fun.  If you want to do it, too, you can get the free pattern here. 

There are also patterns for sale on this site. I have been enjoying the free patterns for the past couple of years and decided it was time I bought something. So very early yesterday morning, I bought six of the cutest patterns!  One of them was this newly-created snowman. How adorable!
I can't wait to start him. If you want to see the other patterns I bought, I posted them on my other blog yesterday. Click here.

Is anyone else doing this mystery block?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Here is What my Latest Project Became

I spent my extra hour today, reading blogs and finishing up my project.

Here is what those little bits of fabric morphed into:

A banner for Thanksgiving.

Here is a close-up of the bottom:

and the top:

When I first finished it, I had no idea where I would put it. In fact it was so long that I did not even think I had a place where it would fit!  I was quite pleased when I finally found a place where it would work.

I also changed my bed quilt this morning after I washed and made up the bed with those 1200 thread-count sheets. I put my multi-colored log cabin on the bed.

It's a bit heavier than the one I had on.  I need something heavy for the cold winter that will be here soon.

So I have had a good Sunday.  I hope you all did, too.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I am so Excited to Be Starting a New Project

With all the home improvement projects we have done in the past three months, I have had little time to sew--for the past 30 days, I could not even get to the sewing machine.

It felt good tonight to start something new.

 Any idea what this could be? 

How about now?
This should be a quick after-work project. I hope to show the completed item by this weekend.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Making Progress on the Denim Bag and Poor Service from Charter Cable

I have been home from work for over 3 hours and Charter cable TV has been out since I got home-- who knows when it actually went out. So far at least 3 hours--I am not very happy with Charter cable TV--every time it rains hard, snows hard, or we have high winds--it goes out. One might think that Charter would remove that day from one's bill--HA! Never have I seen any reduction in my bill due to their outages. Very poor customer service! If you have options where you live, Don't take Charter!

Since I cannot watch any TV, I have been sewing. I made an identical back for the denim/vinyl bag and added denim gussets:

So far I have no "shaggy" bag components.   I think I may add some to the side gussets and then to the strap.  I will sew this leg seam to the sides and then cut it at 1/4-inch intervals to make it ravel.
People seem to like the "shaggy" aspects of these bags.  That is fine with me because it is so much easier to make a shaggy strap to flop over one's shoulder.

I still have to make the lining, which is just like making a second bag--slightly more work because I have to add snaps to the top.

I probably won't finish this bag until next week because tomorrow night I have to clean out this room for carpet cleaning.  I just hope I remember where I put all of the elements I need to complete this one!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I Had the Urge to Create after Work Today

So I made one four-inch block with denim and black vinyl.

Then I made two blocks:
and before long I had 4 blocks... I see a new blue jean/with-vinyl-accents purse in my near future!

Not too happy with the bottom seam...but it will stay. I think I can embellish this once it is done to hide that sloppy sewing. This measures 8 inches, so I will probably add a border to make it a tad larger....As I like to do, I have no plans, so who knows what it will end up as! 

Stay tuned..........I will post a picture when I finish it.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Halloween Shaggy Bluejeans Bag

Last weekend, I spent about six hours making a Halloween shaggy bag.

 This side has a pumpkin. I have used this same pumpkin last year for a table runner. Some of you may remember it.

It is on my dining room table right now.

The other side of the bag has a witch.
Here is a close up:
I have also made a table runner from this same witch block.
I think this will be a fun bag to use during the week of Halloween. For most people it would be way too costly to buy a handmade bag just to use for a week each year. But for those of us who sew, our only cost is a  few hours of our time...most  of which we find  quite pleasurable.

I plan to carry this bag on a Halloween weekend getaway.  Fun, fun, fun!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Oh, Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree, How Lovely will your Tree Skirt Be

Right after Christmas last year, I started a new tree skirt. I finished what seemed like a zillion 5-inch squares (Ok, only 50 of them), then put them in a bag and forgot about them until yesterday.

I pulled out the bag and decided that I needed to get it done soon since I want to use it this year. So I have been sewing a bit the past couple of days and I finally have all the 5-inch blocks sewn into 15-inch squares.
Now I just have to decide how to arrange them, then sew all of the blocks together and the top will be done! Whooooooo hooooooooo! Of course, I still must make the quilt sandwich and then hand quilt it. That is why I must get started on this. It will take a long time to quilt it. I am not even going to attempt to machine quilt. I am tired or ruining everything by my sorry machine quilting.

Everything was going fast and smooth until I started sewing the 15-inch blocks together. After the first row, I discovered this:
Oh no! I forgot to sew one of the pieces on this 5-inch block and did not even realize it. Now I have to pick out 30 inches of 1.5-inch stitches!!! And then another 15 inches (3 sides)) to replace this block. That's enough to knock my enthusiasm back a few weeks.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Shaggy Bags

I have been busy designing and sewing these shaggy denim bags. This is my favorite.

They are so much fun to make.

I found a model for this one:

It goes nicely with his outfit.

I made a haul at Joanne's last Friday.
My next project plan is to make a bag from those animal prints and black denim.

Monday, August 30, 2010

I Finally Made the First Cut--and it Felt so Good

I have mentioned before how I painstakingly hand quilted this king-sized blue jeans quilt only to find that it was way too heavy to use.

For the past few years, it has been sitting in a box in the basement taking up valuable space while I tried to think of another way to use it.

Sunday I thought of another use. I took the scissors and made the first cut--snip, snip, snip.....I happily snipped until I had long lengths that were two blocks high with the binding intact.

Then I stuffed one block under the mattress and ended up with a nice heavy bed skirt that stays exactly where it is supposed to!
I still have a lot left and am thinking of making two window scarfs...stay tuned for that. I am so much happier now that I have found a use for it.

I spent some time over the weekend working on a couple of new denim projects.
I am nearly done with the fist one and will show it to you soon.

Fall is almost here--quilting season is just beginning!
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