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Monday, March 22, 2010

Poor, poor little Quilt

After work this afternoon DH decided to go out and do a bit of raking.

He asked if I wanted to go outside and rake some of my flower gardens.

It may be spring, but it's only 40 degrees out there. FORGET IT--too cold for me!

I told him to rake to his heart's content, I was staying inside to work on the binding for this quilt.

This is the first quilt I machine quilted--very, very poorly done. Pathetic, actually. It's been sitting for months awaiting a binding.

I've decided that it's time to finish it. The quilting is such an embarrassment that I am not showing a closeup. I am also not signing it.

I don't want anyone to know that I quilted this! That's too bad because the piecing is very nice (if I do say so myself). I've been trying to figure out how I can salvage it--cut it up? No. There really is nothing to do but bind it and try to enjoy it, despite the poor workwomanship.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

I Set an Easter Table Using Many of My Quilted Projects

Quilting is such a useful hobby. I love that I am able to really use the items I make. A lot of people think quilts are only for beds, but I make a ton of other items for my home.

Here's the table with two Easter-colored quilted table runners.

There are lots of real eggs on this table that I colored & decoupaged. These little boy bunnies hold eggs with quilt patterns. I made the chair back toppers in the log cabin quilt block design with pink bunnies in the middle.

I have a ton of fun making decorating items from my quilting hobby!

I am always looking for more ideas, so if you have something you make for your home, please tell me about it. If you have a picture, please post the link so I can come on over and see it.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Red Polka Dot Binding to the Rescue!

After using one of my quilted handbags, I decided it needed some redesigning. It had one magnetic closure at the top middle and that was not enough to keep everything inside.

So I decided to add two more magnetic clasps.

Then I had quite a problem.

How was I going to cover the exposed metal?

My immediate idea was to make a fabric flower, but I didn't have any of the red/gold striped fabric and I used my last button cover last week. None of the red fabric in my sewing room seemed to work. Then I opened my little drawer full of bias binding and look what was right on top...
I must admit I was happy to have found something that was all ready for me to gather. I just cut four pieces and hemmed one end and gathered the other.

Then I rummaged around for something to use for the middle. Imagine my surprise when I pulled a bag full of button covers from another drawer!
I bought them in May of '09 and forgot I had them. I do love when I am surprised by things like this.

I made four buttons of the same fabric as the button already on the handbag. Then I got out the hot glue gun and attached two to the front and two to the back.

I would have preferred to have used the same red fabric as that already in the bag, but I think the red polka dots work OK and I am so much happier because now the bag stays shut!
Now I wonder if I need one more flower right smack in the middle at the bottom. What do you think - would another flower be too much?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I am Back to Sewing and a Thread-Covered Floor

My mother-in-law called last night to ask some questions about a little trivet I gave her last month.

She wanted to make some and send them to my sister-in-law in Colorado.

She just loved the pattern of the one I had given her.

As it happened, I had two more of them already made up. She kept protesting that she had not called to get more, and I kept telling here I was thrilled to be able to give them to her.

I made up two more for my MIL since she would be giving hers to SIL.

It was fun to try out different stitches. I don't worry much about perfection in these. They will be ruined in a short time anyway, if they actually use them, as I hope they do.

Remember those wild red blocks I made a few weeks back? I decided I did not want to continue on for a table runner, so I stuck them in the pot holder box. Here they are all made into a sizeable trivet to protect counters from hot dishes.

I found another orphan block in the box and made it up, too.

My MIL is thrilled to have handmade items. I am not sure which ones she will send to SIL and which she will keep. She loves red, so I think she will like them all.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

I Made a Big Mistake and Cleaned My Sewing Room

....before I finished my latest handbag.

Now I am totally unmotivated to finish it because the room is too clean!

There are no threads on the floor. The entire pile of recently-used fabric had been picked up off the floor, folded and put away.

It feels so good to be able to walk from that room and not drag thread all over the rest of the house. I could not bring myself to sew one single stitch in the past two days.

I think I will wait another day or two before I mess it all up again.

While cleaning out the room, I pulled my recently-purchased tote bags/handbags from the closet. These are the bags I have purchased since December and not yet used. (I will use them this spring and summer when I have no overcoat to hide the clothing that I will match them up with. During the winter, there is no sense matching to anything but my coats)

Actually I found two more after taking this picture.
Add to these the 5 I made in the last two months,

Holy smokes. I am being overrun by totes and handbags!

I am overloaded with table runners and quilts and potholders... Now handbags.....what can I make now to feed my need to create?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Quilt Rat, I Guess There is a Whole Flock of Them Out There!

Heather sent me pictures of all the Silly Chicken blocks her Yahoo group made. With her permission I am posting them so you can see all the different color variations.

Someone won all the blocks, but Heather does not know what they made with them. If you happen to be the person who won, we would all love to see your finished project! Heather, thanks so much for taking the time to share these. I know I loved seeing all the different birds in the flock.

Once again a big thank you to Quilter's Cache for providing this fun, free pattern. To go directly to the pattern, click here.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Silly Chicken

I have not worked on the handbags in the past couple of days. I have been going into work about 1/2 hr. earlier than normal and it's cutting in to my sewing time!

I did feel like puttering around with something early Saturday morning and I made this Silly Chicken block.

It's a free pattern from Quilter's Cache. I've made a few of them. They are just a fun block to make when you feel like creating something, but you don't want to put in a lot of effort.

I don't know what will become of these chicken blocks, but I am sure that one day they will be just what I need to finish something.

Has anyone made this block? What did you end up doing with it?

Friday, March 5, 2010

Plum Purple and Green Handbag

I decided to wait to do the Safari bag until the jacket arrives. I want to be sure the colors are correct. So tonight I went through my closet to find something to match up with a new bag.

Last month I bought this faux chamois plum purple jacket.

Instead of a white shirt (dull, boring), I teamed it up with a bright green shell and I decided that a purple/green bag would be fun. I rummaged through my stash before leaving for work this morning and found the fabrics you see on top of the jacket. I think the purples lend a definite bling factor!

I added a black heavy cotton fabric for the base of the bag. It's the same fabric as the pants I wear almost every day. In fact, it's a worn out pair of pants that I cut the legs off because that part of the fabric was still in good shape. So far I have made only the pieced colored portion of the bag.

That bling fabric is not the easiest stuff to sew. Give me 100% cotton to work with any day! I am not exactly sure where I will go from here. I will set it aside for tonight and figure out the next step later this weekend.

I hope everyone (includig me!) has a productive weekend.

Happy Sewing!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

I am Having Such Fun with These Bags

I am finding it very rewarding to make bags to match individual outfits. I have not actually used any yet, but they are fun to design and sew. They are not the kind of bags I would take to work, but I think I will have a ball using them for my leisure activities this spring/summer.

I ordered a safari print jacket this week. It has not arrived yet, but I printed its picture and began searching my stash to see what I could find to make a coordinating handbag.

I found all of this stuff that I think will work--animal print fabric, leather, black bead trim
and even a black boa! I just might run that around the top of the bag. I even have handles that are perfect - black and bronze beads.

So far I have only been looking for items to use -- I have not even begun to make the bag. I'm still in the mental designing mode. I probably should wait until the jacket arrives before going further. Sometimes the colors are quite different when I get the jacket than they looked on my monitor.

So far this week I have made two bags and have all the materials to make #3 and I have not had to go out and buy a single thing! I love using up my stashed items--especially all those handles I bought last fall when Joanne's had a 50% off sale. I have almost used them all up. I hope they have another sale soon!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Spring Denim Tulip Handbag Done

In case you are new or don't remember, these are the two tulip denim blocks I made last week. The plan was to make a spring handbag with them.

I've worked for the last two evenings to get this one done. I had no plan--just designed it by the seat of my pants, so to speak. I found an uncut pair of jeans and had a vision for this part.
You may be wondering what in the world I would use this part for? Unfortunately I did not take a picture before I cut it out. So I put it back together so you could see what it was.

A button up fly. Cool! I thought I could use it to close the top of my purse. And it worked -- though it is a bit difficult to button.

But it does keep everything inside nice and secure. I stopped on Monday night when I could not come up with anything for a handle. On Tuesday night I took a second look at the suspenders on this bib jeans top.

The color wasn't quite the right light shade of blue, but I finally came up with the idea to add a pink stripe down the middle. I think it made a big difference.
It finished off the handbag quite nicely.
I added two pink-covered buttons on the bottom.

I plan to carry the handbag while wearing the pink jacket (behind it)with some denim capris and flip flops. Toe nails will, of course, be painted the same shade of pink. I think it will make a fun outfit!

So far I have broken 8 needles while making these two bags. This bag has a denim lining so it's pretty tough to sew through all those thick layers when you get to the handle/belt loop areas. It's a good thing I finally learned how to open those needle boxes!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I Can't Open Schmetz Needles

I pull and pull, push and push, squeeze and squeeze, and I can almost NEVER get these things opened!

Is there some trick? I know the nails make it a bit more difficult, but I can hand quilt with these nails, so I certainly should be able to open a box of needles!

Here is what I always have to resort to:

breaking the plastic with a screwdriver. The needles fly all over the place!

Surely there is a better way. Please, if you know, enlighten me! I am about to stop buying these just because I can't get them opened. I think they need to redesign the case.

3/3/10 5:00 a.m. Update: Thank you all for your help. I had no luck until I read Cathy's comment. THANK YOU, Cathy. Even at 5:00 a.m. it worked on my first try!

Here are Cathy's detailed directions in case anyone else is struggling like I was:

OK, on your new package of needles.
1. Turn it sideways so the "Z" in Schmetz is pointing at your belly button.
2. Lick your thumb and index finger of your right hand(unless you have naturally moist hands, or your left if you are left handed).
3. Put your thumb on the clear plastic just about 1/4" above "Schmetz.
4. Put your index finger on the back and slide it up until you feel the slight ridge at the top. Your finger pad should be about divided in half at the top edge of the white plastic.
5. With your other hand hold only the edges of the clear plastic cover lightly at the base (near the numbers).
6. Pull your index finger towards your palm while pushing your thumb out. Kind of like when you feel the texture of fabric or something between your fingers. This will take some pressure, but not much or you will mash the two pieces together and they won't pop apart.
7. It actually "pops". Once you have popped it open, you can bend the top piece back to get better access to the needles.

I use a sharpie marker to color the flat side of the needle when I pull an old one out of the machine. I put them dull ones back in the holder to keep them from poking about in the trash, just in case I drop something in there I have to go fishing for later.

Good luck! Let me know if that doesn't work and I'll figure out how to take some pics for you!

March 2, 2010 9:15 PM

Monday, March 1, 2010

Once a Pair of Jeans--Now a Handbag

If you are expecting a big old worn out derriere from a pair of jeans, you won't find it here.

I am not really into those worn butt jean bags. They are for younger ladies. I like my denim bag a tad more refined.

There are so many shades of denim that I find it difficult to match up jean jackets, pants and handbags. I made this bag with multiple shades of denim and it still is not really a match to any of these jackets! If you turn it over, though, the blue border is not such a vivid hue and it will work.

I plan to make a bunch more with different jeans.

I have a big rubbermaid tote full of jeans leftover from my denim quilt project. I even have nice neat bags full of cut out squares, triangles and jean pockets.
I've tossed this jacket in there a few years ago and was very happy to find it when I began this new project.

I paper pieced 7-inch center blocks using the jacket sleeve for an accent color and texture.
I added borders (from a bag of strips I already had cut) until it was the size I wanted. I like my handbags on the smaller side. This one finished at 12 inches high x 10 inches wide. The belted top is my favorite part of the bag. It's a recycled leather handle from a handbag. Sometimes I buy handbags at garage sales just so I can cut them up and reuse parts in my own designs.

I had planned to use a pocket zipper from the jacket for the top of this one, but it didn't quite work out, so I used magnetic snaps instead.

I did not quite get the decorative stitching correct on the point of the leather triangle. I may end up putting something over that spot. I tried a fabric flower that matched the lining, but that didn't work for me.

This week I am going to work on the denim blocks with the pink tulip. That bag will be very spring-like.
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