Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Batik Star Blocks Done

Just finished up the last block for Aunt Brenda's Batik Stars Quilt.  The light is a little better today, so you can start to see the light and dark background effect.  Still wishing for more contrast, but it is hard to find nice background fabrics in the batik family.  Still enjoying the total effect of the quilt though.  I'll try to get the rows pinned before the dog decides to rearrange everything for me.  

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Batik Stars for Aunt Brenda

 I've been putting together the blocks for Aunt Brenda's Batik Stars quilt.  The two background fabrics ended up more similar than I had hoped, but in good light you can get the effect.
 This was the original plan, I'm happy to have it to refer back to after putting it away last summer.  Aunt Brenda is getting anxious for her quilt though, so it has bone to the top of the list.  Aunt Marilyn does beautiful hand quilting and she will be taking over that part as soon as the top is done.
When my sister Heather came to visit before our vacation, she brought me some of Mom's things.  Her husband Tom has sold the house and was ready to get rid of everything.  Heather saved the photos and some sewing things to bring to me along with some Christmas decorations that are still at her house.  Mom liked to sew, but was never a quilter, and most of her fabrics were flannel or home decor.  I did pull these cottons out out and will try to work them into a project or two.
Here is a quick photo of the girls with their trophies from the power lifting tournament this weekend.  They both had great lifts, Sydney went 9 for nine on her three events and Anna made all but one of her bench presses.  The alarm at 5:30 this morning was painful, but I came home and took a quick nap before it was time to get up and take Anna shopping for back to school clothes.  Then this afternoon we went zip lining at the zoo again.  When we got home from that, it was time for Sydney to take a nap.  Rainy days are so good for napping.  

Monday, July 21, 2014

Funny Story and Steam of Consiousness

Just before we ran out the door on vacation last week, a package showed up in the mail.  I didn't remember ordering anything, but it felt soft and squishy.  As I peeked in at oodles of orange fabrics, I remembered getting an e-mail from a blog reader, Sally, who said she had lots of oranges that she would love to send me, hoping it was going to be the color of the month very soon.  Apparently people feel very strongly about orange!  It was by far the most requested color in the giveaway linky party.  I was planning to save orange for October and Halloween, but I guess you are all too impatient for that.  So I'm not sure if it will come up in August or September, but I'll move orange up on the list due to popular demand.    Best of all, the orange fabric came with an adorable cat block!  So cute!  I will definitely have to include this one in the Rainbow Scrap Sampler.
 Speaking of running out on vacation, I also meant to post the fabric giveaway winner before we left, but completely didn't.  So thanks to the magic of the random number generator at, Marsha Cooper is the winner of the lovely hand dyed fabric from Vicki Welsh. I'll get her fabric off in the mail and then get ready for the August giveaway.  Marsha, you are a no-reply blogger, and I think I remember having a conversation that included your e-mail, but I can't find it now, so if you can please send me your snail mail via e-mail, I'll head off to the post office with your goodies.
Sending away all this beautiful fabric is really making me want to play with some.  I need an awesome project to feature a rainbow of hand dyes -- any suggestions?  Sometimes when faced with a wonderfully coordinated bundle of fabric goodness, I get terrified and afraid to cut into it.  Same thing happens when trying to make a gift for someone.  I need to just take a deep breath and dive in.
And on the topic of wonderful surprise packages, I stopped by school this morning after taking Ryan to the orthodontist.  There was another surprise package waiting for me there.  This one was not soft and squishy, but it was so much fun.  I was at a science technology training workshop earlier this summer and found out that our district has now has a 3-D printer for the use of the science teachers.  One particular teacher volunteered to print things for us in exchange for keeping it at his school.  So I promptly put in an order for oxygenated and deoxygenated hemoglobin.  Check out that conformational change initiated by the bonding of the oxygen molecules.  Cool, right?!  And see the little red stand under the i-pad, it holds it perfectly vertical for video filming.  I am SO excited!
 Speaking of excited, I finally started quilting the borders for the little blue Dear Jane.  After much trial and error, I found that the clover white marking pen worked best along with a small collapsible square PVC quilting frame.  Maybe I'll make a little zipper case for it before the next trip?  Everything is better in a little zipper case.  

Rainbow Scrap Challenge Sampler - Big Dipper

I love blocks that come from one size of strips. They seem so much easier to pull out of the scrap bag.
This block just uses 2 inch strips.  I chose a red and a black with multi-colored speckles.  I actually ended up using two different blacks when the first one ran out, but that is all part of the charm of scrap quilts, right?
This time we will use the companion angle ruler.  It is the same one used to make flying geese units.  I love flying geese units.  This time we'll be making quarter square triangle blocks though.  These are also called hourglass blocks I believe.
With your two fabrics placed right sides together, cut 8 triangle units.   Notice that the straight of grain is on the long side, this will keep the bias edges all on the inside of the block so that it won't stretch.
You will be sewing along one leg of each triangle.  Make sure to feed them all in the same way so that they fit back together later.
Pressing these needs to be done carefully.  The hypotenuse is now on the bias, so stay away from it as much as possible.  I like to just sneak in with my iron from the point and avoid the long side entirely.  Press the seams toward the dark fabric.
Now take half of your blocks and rotate them 180 degrees.  Fold them over, making sure to match the center seam.  They should nestle nicely.
Now sew along the long side, remembering that it is full of bias, so don't be too energetic with it.
Once you open up your block and trim your dog ears, it should look like this from the back.  Open up and rotate the center seam to help reduce bulk.  This will also help your blocks fit together better in the next step.  You should have four of these hourglass units.
Arrange your four units so that the dark triangles alternate.  In the top right and bottom left they are vertical, and in the top left and bottom right they are horizontal. If you did your pressing as suggested, all of the seams should nestle as you sew your four subunits together.
Here is the finished block.  It would really be fun to play with color placement on this one.  The center makes a nice pinwheel, wouldn't it be fun to have it in different colors with a darker contrast around the outside?  

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Slowdown Sunday

 I had to smile when I saw Kathy's post this morning about hand sewing on vacation.  We are just back from a family trip to Hilton Head South Carolina and I did indeed bring along handwork for the car.  I was SO close to finishing up the center blocks for Dear Jane.  I had just these two little blocks to go when I heard a pitiful little voice from the backseat asking if I was going to be done with that quilt soon because Sydney was cold.  Of course I immediately took out my needle and passed it back.  I'll be able to start on the border soon which is pretty exciting to me.
 So instead I pulled out this little stack of basket blocks that gotten put away and forgotten about for a while.  I had seen pretty little applique baskets on several different sites but didn't have a pattern.  So I drafted my own and got these blocks done before getting sidetracked again.  There are a few more ready to be sewn so they will be ready to go for the next trip.
Back on the home front it has been craft crazy around here.  I am having a blast sewing little zipper pouches in all of the colors of the rainbow.  The little round ones are for headphones, the smaller boxy ones are for charging chords and the large boxy ones are for bathroom things on trips.  Though the purple paperweights might become a take along sewing kit.  Anna also wanted a pencil pouch for school, so that is the flat purple one on the upper right.  I still have a few more ideas pinned to my Hold it ALL page on Pinterest, so you might be seeing more bags in the near future.  I've gotten quite handy with zippers, and even did a covered end on my last project -- fancy, right?  Last but not least is some lip balm that the girls and I made together.  Summer is so much fun!  I wish I could have it all year long.  

Rainbow Scrap Challenge Sampler - Flock

I feel like its been forever since I've done a Rainbow Scrap Challenge Sampler block.  Even the wonky star from last week was written in January and saved to later.  Many apologies for the wrong measurements when the post first went up.  It was scheduled during the time we were away on our vacation and it sort of popped up on me.  Several people tried to make it in the too big size -- I'm really sorry about that.  It is OK to tell me that I've messed up!  Really, I won't be offended if you let me know that my numbers were off or the directions weren't clear.
So hopefully this block will be a bit smoother for you.  It uses two sizes of HST blocks.
The larger HST unit is cut from 3.5 inch strips.  Place them right sides together and use the easy angle ruler to cut 2 sets of triangles.
Next, use 2 inch strips to repeat the same process.  Did you know that the large easy angle ruler does not have a mark at the 2 inch line?  I usually use an easy angle junior ruler, but it got put away for company when my sister was here.  I haven't quite gotten everything out again and so tried to use the jumbo ruler instead.  Now I remember why I got the little version.  Anyway, cut 8 sets of triangles from the 2 inch strips placed right sides together.
So here are your pieces all cut out and ready to go.
8 - HST units cut from 2 inch strips
2 - HST units cut from 3.5 inch strips
Sew these along the hypotenuse (I just love that word!) press the seams to the dark and trim the dog ears.
Now take the small HST units and sew them into pairs with the darks all facing down and to the left.  Actually it doesn't matter which way they face, as long as they are all the same.
I decided to hold off on pressing here because half of the seams need to go toward the dark fabric and half need to go toward the light.  You may press if you can keep it straight, or just do a quick fingerpress as a temporary measure.  Sew the pairs into four patches, again with all the darks facing the same way.

Arrange the small HST four patches into a larger four patch with the large HST units.  All the dark triangles will continue to face in the same direction.
Sew those into pairs and press to the large HST unit.
Sew the two patches into a four patch and enjoy!  Your unfinished block should measure 6.5 inches.  

Saturday, July 19, 2014

ScrapHappy Saturday - Red Continues

I've been making red fabric out of red strings.  How about you?  Feeling terribly behind after getting back from vacation, but hoping to catch up with everyone today.  Use misterlinky below to let us know what is going on in your neck of the woods.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Before and After

 It is a rainy day.  A nap was so tempting, but I haven't made much progress on summer organization projects yet.  The girls and I have been whipping up some homemade beauty products which made a bit of bathroom organization bubble to the the top of the list.  It is amazing how many bottles and jars of this and that there are under my sink.
I'd like to make some decorative fabric containers, but for now, there were some extra baskets left from the toy room clean-up of last week.  

More Zipper Pouches

I'm on a roll with zipper bags.  Still recovering from vacation and feeling a bit tired, these little cuties are keeping me busy without requiring too much energy.  The big one is a No Guts Boxie Pouch.  It is another free download on Craftsy.  Then I downsized it a bit to fit a smaller zipper to  make the black bag.  I think I'll try a scrappy one next.
I'm about to run out of zippers though, and that will be so sad.  I guess that will mean a switch to something productive.  Or maybe a nap?  That sounds good too.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Tiny Zipper Pouches

We are HOME again.  This year Kurt's family decided to gather at Hilton Head for a family vacation.  Most of them got houses or condos for a full week, but our kids are always done before the end of 7 days.  So instead we got a hotel room for part of the week.  As predicted, we had lots of fun and were definitely ready to head home by mid-week.
So after a few days in the car digging for headphones and charging chords, I wanted to try out a few ideas I had pinned for small zipper pouches.  Such a fun way to play between unpacking and catching up with laundry.
First, the circle one on the right was made from a tutorial found here.  It came together quite nicely despite my inexperience with zippers.  There was no zipper foot involved as the entire project was sewn with the regular quarter inch foot.   It does leave quite a bit of zipper exposed, but I think it is a nice look if you have a nicely coordinated zipper to use.
The one on the left was made from a tutorial I found here.  The actual pattern is a free download from craftsy, but all the directions are explained in the video except for the size to cut the rectangles (which is 3.5 by 5 inches).  I thought it came together quite well and the directions were very easy to follow.  I skipped the zipper foot again, but it all worked out pretty well I think.  I'll make a few more in assorted colors to match the random zippers that I happen to have hanging around.