5.28.2010

New Wreath for the Holiday Weekend!


Do you remember this wreath I made?

Well my plan is to sew a new block every month. I want to have 12 blocks to switch out and update the wreath as the year goes on.

When it came to June I was unsure what to make for that month. Then I started quilting the next quilt in my practice stash, a flip-flop quilt! Brilliant! So I whipped up this little cutie for June.

I used some leftover fabric from Emma's Garden quilt for the flip-flops. Sewed some rick-rack over some ribbon. Added the cute little flower button and TA-DA. The quilting isn't my best, sigh. Moving from a long-arm machine to my little white couldn't be more difficult.

I know it not officially June until Tuesday but I thought this holiday weekend was a perfect debut for the flip-flops!


5.26.2010

Change in PURSE-spective

Appliqueing 61 little 2.5 inch circles gets a little tiresome. I have been working every night on Emma's Garden quilt. I am making headway but it's slow going. I found myself dreading the evenings when I sit and stitch. Besides which my fingers need a little recovery time from the numerous pokes and stabbings.

Rarely do I have to go far to stumble onto a new project. God knows I have several unfinished ones I can pick up at anytime. I wasn't in the mood to finish anything. I wanted to START something new.

I was at Hancock last week, strictly because I had to get something, which I currently don't remember, but it was an errand with a specific goal, I think. Anyway, while I was there I stumbled upon a rack of black and white prints. I LOVE the black and white prints they have out now. Well, since I had a coupon that would expire if I didn't use it; I decided to pick up some black and white fabrics. I didn't have a project in mind at the time, I had little doubt that I would stumble upon one soon.

Well would you believe I found just the thing to use that fabric on, and no it's not a tote. It is totally different than a tote, a purse. I found this awesome pattern (here) at Warehouse Fabrics Inc. Now before you get all up in my face, I honestly needed a new purse. I always need new purses. I have been looking for a new purse for at least a month and have been unable to find one that I liked and that I could afford (that is always the catch). This pattern definitely fit the bill. Besides it is essentially free because I already have the fabric in my stash. (See how that works.)

This pattern was fun and easy to make. There are lots of pictures on the tutorial, which I love. I like the idea of making your own purse because you can add as many pockets as you wish! How great is that?! I only made one modification adding a button to the pocket with a flap, I am forever dumping my purse. The pleats can be a little tricky, especially when you are trying to "make the pleats lay naturally" to sew the pockets onto the sides of the bag. Still unsure if my pleats are lying naturally or unnaturally but I have pockets (4 of them).


The purse is big enough to hold all of my things and then whatever the kids need me to "hold" for them. The only thing I will probably do different next time is make the strap a little longer, more of a messenger bag length. That is strictly personal preference.

For now I am back to sewing on circles. Hmm, unless I can find a wallet pattern.


5.23.2010

You Are Here--> ?



Have you ever started a project, worked about half way through it and wondered, "What in the HECK was I thinking when I started this!?!?!" Okay, well, I'm SO there. Many of you have listened to me rant on, and on, and on about the quilt I am making for my daughter. There hasn't been an easy part of this project. Scratch that. The easiest part was shopping for the fabric. Then it got difficult.

I should have seen little red flags popping up from the beginning. You know really obvious things like, maybe the fact that the blocks are Hexagons! Hello! This just screams set in seams. Did I listen? NO. I just kept happily sewing little misshapen hexagonal blocks.

Perhaps, I should have been clued in when I had to rip the quilt apart the first time. NO. That would be silly. Then I would have missed all the fun of having to rip it apart and re-sew it the second time. Word to the wise. When making a quilt for a bed, measure the bed first! Seems so simple, doesn't it? Apparently, I forgot that step. When I drug the quilt out this past week to quilt it for the Blogger's Quilt Festival (click to see some really amazing quilts), I was amazed to find that the quilt did not fit the bed. Out came the seam-ripper once again.

Once it was the correct size I was able to quilt it. That proved to be challenging but not, thankfully, painful. I did have to secure many, many, many loose edges. I quilted flower petal shapes in the brightly colored areas and leaf shapes in the green areas. After the quilting was finished and I took it out to photograph it. I got super psyched! Almost done! Not.

The quilt has straight edges on the top and bottom, easy enough to bind. However, the sides are uneven. As I began to contemplate the binding of the edges I realized that I would need bias cut binding to finish this quilt. Okay, haven't done that before but I was on a roll.

Did you know that there is actually a formula for finding the total number of square inches needed to cut bias binding? Well surprise! There is and it goes something like this....

Step 1 2l×2w+10=c

Step 2 √2c=total square inches needed

( Add 10 inches to your total circumference. Then multiply this total times 2. Once you have that take the square root of the total for the number of square inches needed. )Whoa! Fortunately for those of us who are less mathematical than your average pre-algebra student there are much easier ways to cut bias bindings.

With bias binding cut, sewn and pressed I stared attaching it to the quilt. WooHoo. Hold on a minute their little lady. (Insert western accent) Not so fast. Did you forget that there are still pieces to applique onto that there quilt?
Ah, Yes. Yes I did.
Once again my seam-ripper proved it's value, thank you quilting gods.

Now I sit posting about a quilt I had hoped to have finished to show in the Blogger's Quilt Festival. Instead I have 53 centers to applique on before I can bind this quilt. (For you mathematical quilters who I know are out there. 60 centers minus the 7 centers I already appliqued on.) At 15 minutes a center that is... way to many minutes to have it done before the end of the Blogger's Quilt Festival.

5.20.2010

Jack and Emma's Spring Piano Concert

Here are Jack and Emma playing their duet for the Spring Piano Concert.
video
They did a wonderful job!

5.19.2010

Tree House Update





Many of you have requested an update on the tree house. Here are the most recent pictures. We have all of the walls framed. We are starting on the outside fence slats that will line the lower half of the walls. We are also starting to place the railing around the "deck" area. John and Mark cut down some smaller trees to use as deck railing.

Most of those are oak of some type. Let me tell you that is one hard tree to drill through. Initially we planned on making the railings and the pickets out of the oak trees. After one frustrating and sweaty day of putting up one railing we are rethinking that plan. While I was sick the 'men' took over the tree house building and now some modifications have been made to the plan. (figures)

It should take us the rest of the summer to get it together but like Mark says, "What else have we got to do this summer?" HA!

5.18.2010

I'm addicted!




Hi, I'm Kristin and I am an addict. I have only recently developed this addiction to tote making. I'll admit my fabric addiction has been a long running problem. Currently I have 3 new totes I have made. The teacher totes are completed for this year. I still feel the need to make more totes. I currently have two in process and cannot stop looking for new patterns. I see the damage done to my family, as I delay dinner to top stitch a handle or pocket. I know my kids are starving, as they tell me repeatedly, "WE'RE STARVING MOM! and "WHY DON'T WE HAVE ANY GOOD SNACKS?" and my favorite, "Aren't you done YET!" Yet, I cannot stop making totes.

Here are the three newest totes I have made. All made from the Grab Bag pattern on allpeoplequilt.com by designer Bonnie Kozowski. Aren't they just the bomb! I plan to give these to the youngest teachers as I feel they probably have less to tote around. The pattern is super simple. You can whip one out in about 1.5 - 2 hours. They are so stinking cute! I fear my addiction has no end in site. There are just so many great patterns out there! I'll admit. I am a tote addict. But really how bad can it get?

5.17.2010

Piano




Jack has been taking piano for 3 years now. Emma just started this year. Sadly, we only have a keyboard for them to play on. You can imagine how many times a day I have to listen to "I wish we had a piano." "When can we get a piano?" "I think we need a piano." and many, many variations of the same. Jack came home from lessons one day to show me his new piece. Imagine his surprise when he realized he could only play the first page of the piece because we didn't have enough keys! Well, it was definitely time to buy a piano. So after at least 6 months of searching, calling and visiting pianos we finally came upon one that both dad, his financial minded-self, and mom, her aesthetically pleasing minded-self could agree upon. This weekend John rounded up a crew of co-workers to help with the move and TA-DA! we have a piano. Jack and Emma are thrilled!


Mark, however, is not.

5.15.2010

Re-design


By now you are all aware of my tote, lets just call it a fixation. So far I have made 8 totes. I am pleased with most of them but, there is one that has been driving me CRAZY! You know how you make something and it just isn't right. Somehow what you envisioned didn't transform itself into your reality. Well, this tote is just such a case. I have been stewing over it ever since I made it. Something about it really bothered me. I didn't really know what at first, and then I realized it seemed unbalanced. The bottom of the tote has so much activity and movement. This made the top seem well, boring. I didn't feel as though it it really was my best use of fabric. All in all, I basically hated it. That is until I came up with a solution. It need embellishment! But what? I thought and doodled and tried to figure out what I could add to make it look cute. After all I did not want to make a bad tote worse by adding trashy ribbons or rick-rack. After much thought and intense self-discussion I decided on Hand Embroidery. This is not something I have done much of, so I was a bit apprehensive. I tried and tried to come up with cute little quote or saying to add to the tote. After tossing out Teachers have class! Teachers Rule! and A+ teacher I settled on the much overused #1 Teacher.


I also added a dashed line around the lower border to mimic the effect of ruled paper. Now I am much happier with the design and I can move on in peace.

5.12.2010

Birthday Sweater




Thanks to all who sent Birthday wishes my way! As a Birthday Present to myself I finally, FINALLY finished my "Hey,Teach!" sweater. The pieces have technically been finished for several weeks, but now it is sewn together and it has buttons. WooHoo. Not only that, but it actually fits me. Wonder-of-all-wonders!

I knit it out of Plymouth Yarn's jeannee. Jeannee is a cotton/acrylic worsted weight yarn which is super soft and comes it this beautiful coral color.

I found these cute buttons at Joann's, and hastily sewed them on so I could wear my new sweater today. Happy Birthday to me!







5.09.2010

Happy Mother's Day!



Happy Mother's Day to all of you Moms, Grandmoms, Great-Grandmoms and Moms-to-be! Hope your Mother's Day is a Happy one.



5.08.2010

Pretty Little Purses





Okay. I realize I am "officially" on a self-scheduled tote of the month program but with Mother's Day on Sunday I decided to switch it up a little. This year for Mother's Day I decided to make these little purses.

I made the purse exterior out of a neutral linen and lined them with a cotton print. The pattern was easy to follow and they literally took an hour each to make. But HOW CUTE ARE THEY!! The pattern you can find here (the purl bee). The purl bee blog has lots of wonderful little projects that take little or no time. This project is just one of many quilting, knitting, embrodery, etc, patterns and ideas you can find. Check it out. I know it may be more than a little late for Mother's Day ideas this year, but keep this pattern handy for future handmade present ideas!

Congratulations Emma





Congratulations to Emma for making her First Holy Communion this Saturday. And yes before you ask, Mom did the hair and yes, it took FOREVER!

Thanks to all who came to visits and to those of you who couldn't be with us WE MISSED YOU!

5.02.2010

Another Tote!


If you are tired of hearing about my adventures in tote making, this is not the post for you. I have indeed finished yet another Teacher tote. This tote is for Jack's teacher. You may remember that she is expecting her 2nd child in June. This tote/diaper bag matches the baby quilt. This tote was made from a pattern designed by Penny Sturges and is called the Pocket Parade Tote. This pattern was quite easy to follow despite a typographical error or two. Odd for a pattern that one has to purchase. Don't you think? I digress.


The exterior of the tote has 4 pockets and a handy set of D-rings for attaching various items. The inside is loaded with extra pockets and is roomy enough of hold a certain matching baby quilt. I tried not to make it too 'teacher-ish' after all it is also for the baby. But, I wanted her to be able to use the tote for things other than diapers. For even if it may seem like they will NEVER be out of diapers, they all do eventually grow up.

The shower for her is this Friday and Jack is bursting with excitement for his teacher and her new baby.

5.01.2010

Wreath


Have you ever been obsessed with something. Not so much obsessed, as been driven to do or create something. Well, my newest Quilted Project is just such an obsession. I Don't remember exactly were I saw the idea, a quilting magazine probably, but I do remember thinking, "I need to make that!" At the time we were in a rental home and my sewing/office/bedroom space was in utter chaos. Then we moved in late October, the Holidays came on at full speed and before I knew it it was April! How that happened I have no idea. This wreath all the while haunted me and kept begging me to make it.


It is really a simple thing. I am not exactly sure why I NEEDED, at this very moment, to stop everything and make it. Nevertheless, I did and she is done. What else would a quilter need on her front door but a quilted wreath! Since it was spring I used this cute pansy design for the center. I plan to make other "Holiday/Seasonal" designs this year. I used a 12 in block pattern for the center.

This one is Pansy Block by jeannesquilting.com. Originally I started with and 18 inch wreath but had to move to a 24 inch grapevine wreath to accommodate the block.

I added 4 sprigs of greenery, trying not to get anything that would out shine my block. After wiring the greenery on I contemplated hot gluing the clothes pins onto the wreath. Ultimately, I decided not to hot glue them on until I decide on the size and patterns for the other blocks. Right now the clothes pins are pined to a grapevine and then to the quilt block and they seem to be holding. I haven't decided if I need a bow or ribbon of some sort or if it can stand on it's own as is.

I was also excited to do some, a very tiny bit, of free-motion quilting on my newly repaired sewing machine. I actually tried to load this block on my long arm machine. It was a bit insane, trying to load a 12 inch block on a 12 foot machine. Overkill.