Thursday, February 22, 2018

Tatted Snowflake

On my Christmas post I showed the tatted star snowflake that I made last year and mentioned I was making a different one for this year (2017). Now that all the Christmas gifts have been given I thought that I would show you the 2017 model. Ta Da!
And believe it or not - I think that I have found the one for 2018! Just started making a sample.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

A Hand Made Winter Quilt - My First Pieced Quilt

The idea for this quilt started several years ago while I was on a Christmas tour of houses in our local area. The thing is...I told someone from my garden club about what I wanted to make. And if you tell someone, then you need to do it!  I described a red and white quilt with red embroidered cardinals. Ta da,  that is what happened!  Not that I didn't consider other embroidery motifs before I made it. There is the cutest little reindeer embroidery pattern from Ann the Gran called "Rudolph Reindeer" and so many snowflake patterns, too. But in the end the "Winter Cardinal" won out. This way it is a winter quilt rather than just a Christmas quilt. 
I found the directions for this easy quilt in a Gooseberry Patch Christmas book I checked out from our very tiny local library. The next challenge was to choose the fabric. I needed to pick six fabrics (half a yard each) the ones making the final cut where: two plain fabrics, red and white; two dotted fabrics, white with white dots and red with white dots; red and white stripes;  and a small gingham check in red and the white polar fleece for the back (about 2 and a half yards). Finding reds that did not clash and whites that didn't look pink next to the red took awhile. There were several fabrics that just did not work as well as I had hoped, for instance the zigzag fabric shown above and a large gingham check not shown.  I was exhausted and hadn't even started to sew! Made several 7" square templates from my favorite freezer paper and cut out a total of eighty squares. I ended up using only 54 squares (six per row - 9 rows total) which made a perfect cuddle on the couch size.
The cardinals took awhile to embroider, some are complete in the picture above. And as you can see I had a lot of help for the layout. 
So much help that I ended up laying it out on the dining room table. Time to sew the blocks into rows, then the rows together using a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Finished squares are 6 inches. Sewing the squares together went much more smoothly than I originally anticipated! The block corners met where they were supposed to. Imagine!
I researched several quilting websites before this step. Time to make the quilt "sandwich" with the top, batting and the polar fleece backing. I used sew-able basting spray "Spray n Bond" between layers which I've used many times to hoop fabric for embroidery and had on hand. Then large safety pins to hold the layers in place.

Taking my time and using my walking foot for first time since I started sewing many years ago, I carefully stitched 5/8 stitch line from the seam on all sides of the blocks. I loosened the tension on the sewing machine and used a large stitch. Love the way it looks! Trimmed the batting to an inch and a half all the way around. Then pulled and pinned the polar fleece evenly around the quilt, mitering the corners and stitched in place. Fini.
Tilly loves it, too!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Valentine's Day!

Love this simple Valentine's Day craft - folded book heart. My brother- and sister-in-law gave me this little red memo book for Christmas and it was perfect to make this.
Click Here to find the tutorial to make your own folded book heart.

Hope you are having a wonderful Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Sweet Cinnamon Roll Hearts

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day, one of my favorite holidays! I'm not sure why, but I love it. Each year I fix my honey sweet cinnamon rolls for breakfast. Just a little thing that is easy to do and kind of dorky...and I'm okay with that. I've only made sweet cinnamon rolls from scratch a couple of times, they were "oh so good" but made massive amounts! Let's face it, my family does not need the empty calories. So now I just make the kind in the tube. We like the orange ones from Pillsbury. And I don't feel so bad if I throw a few out. Like that's going to happen.
Open the tube and shape the rolls like above in the greased baking pan (a glass pie pan works great for me). Then bake per directions on the package. 
See how pretty they turn out? Then slather those hot rolls with the frosting included in the tube.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

First Ever Christmas Post:

Oh Christmas time is here!

Usually I love to shop, but this year I think I will try to make it a completely home made Christmas and forego the shopping. I haven't done that in years, and it is quite the challenge. The decorating is also scaled back...I love the lights and tree and do dads, but I am not going quite so overboard in 2017.

I learned to tat two years ago and tatted sixteen of these star snowflake beauties. Gave most of them away as presents last year! This year I'm doing a different pattern and am planning to give most of them away again. It is so magical that just a simple knot can make something so beautiful.

The house is dressed in traditional colored lights.

The front door deck is decorated with my old sled and red wagon.

The stockings are ready and waiting for Santa.

Handmade coffee filter and Epson salt snowflakes are glistening in the sun.

And quietly falling on the windows.

Shortbread snowflake cookies are baked and ready to eat. YUM! Yes, I will have to make another batch before Christmas Eve. 

My very first quilt is ready to cuddle under with a mug of hot cocoa and a cookie. Then I think I'll settle down to a long winters nap! And just enjoy the sparkle of the season.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Thanksgiving Table

Thanksgiving table set: check! Sneak peak and all the details.

This picture does not do it justice, it sparkles so! Love the Fostoria American glassware plates that look like little ice cubes. Both my mom and grandmother (on my dad's side) had a few pieces to which I have added more. Must admit when I was younger I didn't really like the pattern, but it has really grown on me.  American is a discontinued pattern, but they starting making it in 1915 and made it until 1983. Other manufacturers made similar patterns, too. The plates have been used frequently and I was down to only three bread and butter (approx: 6 inch) and five (approx: nine inch luncheon) salad plates. And plates were getting hard to find, at least here in the Pacific Northwest. Thanks to my friend Barb, I've finally filled out all the plates I think I will ever need! 

The china is Lenox pattern Laurent, also discontinued. It is cream colored with a guilt edge. It has the prettiest oval veggie bowl and a graceful gravy boat. These were my mother-in-law's. Sometimes I use the china for breakfast or dinner, not just Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. Stuff should be used and enjoyed.

The crystal goblets are Mikasa pattern Park Lane... guess what ...discontinued. The stainless (my everyday) flatware is Oneida pattern Maestro. Hum, discontinued, too. There seems to be a pattern here. The butter knives are sterling very old with a Greek key pattern similar to my silver-plate by Associated Silver Co. Yourex pat. DEC.17-1918 that you may see in future posts. 

Salt and pepper shakers are old from when I collected salt and pepper shakers. Enough!!!

Hurricane holders (think they are vases) and holiday pillar candles from Walmart. They are still available, but at much increased prices. When I purchased the hurricanes they were only $1.50 each. The pumpkins are from the Dollar Store and they came packaged in a bag with two large pumpkins with stems and a variety of smaller pumpkins with no stems. I made some stems from modeling clay (also the Dollar Store) example: the orange and green one. Like them with stems much better! The hazelnuts I bought for a craft project and some were left over to decorate the center of the table.


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Falling Leaves Pillow Cover Tutorial

Let's make a pillow and pillow cover, this one for Fall. Don't you just love those colorful silk leaves? I found some two years ago at the dollar store and bought two packages (50 leaves per package). I've used them to decorate - sticking them in wreaths and such. Time to try something different. Introducing the Falling Leaves Pillow.

First I decided on the size pillow I wanted - mine was finished size twenty by ten. Eleven inches by twenty-one inches, including half inch seam allowance, using my handy dandy pattern made from freezer paper.  I love this stuff. Make the pattern, put the plastic side down on your material, iron it with your iron set to the temperature appropriate for the fabric. No pins needed, you just cut around the pattern then pull it off. 

And you can use the pattern again and again! How neat is that? For the pillow form cut two front pieces from neutral fabric, I used an old sheet. Sew around the edges using a half inch seam except for a four inch opening. Stuff it with fiberfill or the inside of an old pillow and then sew it shut. No one but you will see this so don't worry about stains or finishing the edge.

Now cut the front and two backs (11 inches by 12 inches) out of the fabric you have chosen for the pillow cover. How did I decide how to place the silk leaves? I threw them on the floor! (smile)

Then used a section of that for placement on the front fabric piece. Using basting spray I placed the leaves how I wanted or you can just pin them in place before sewing. 

Using my sewing machine, I zig-zaged around each. You could also sew around each leaf using a straight stitch.

Hem one side of each of the two back pieces along the short edge of the fabric. Press the edge a scant quarter of an inch, fold it over again, press again and then stitch.

Finish the cover using french seams. Put wrong sides together and pin for the first seam. From the picture below you can see how the back pieces come together with the hem in the middle of the cover.

Stitch a small seam using your presser foot window (slot where the needle goes through the foot) as a guide. Stitch straight off the fabric with your stitches. At each corner you should have stitching that makes a little square. 

For crisp corners fold as below and turn entire cover to the wrong side. Press seams and then stitch all the way around again a little wider than the existing seam.

Turn using the crisp corner technique.

You are done! I added a little hand embroidery for the stems. By the way the pillow shown below has been washed in cold water twice, the first time by hand and the second in the machine on delicate cycle. I have a dog and the pillow cover is off white...need I say more?

More pillow covers and ideas to come!