Wednesday, April 29, 2015

I'm a Maker

Sometimes you stumble onto an artist's work that really speaks to you.... as if your heart actually hears something, even though you may not even be able to put it into words what exactly you heard. For me Cori Dantini is one of those artists. And as if it weren't enough to have her work featured all throughout my whole entire house, what's more than exciting to me is that Cori puts her brilliant little pieces of art onto my medium of choice... fabric, swoon... and then comes the best part, getting the chance to create something fun with it!

Her latest fabric collection "The Makers" series holds a special place in my heart, especially since it covers a certain theme that is near and dear to me... 

I had to sneak a sweet little freezer paper gift tag in there somewhere just for fun...

Sewing Techniques: Simple piecing. Window - paper pieced, girl - freezer paper applique or alternative raw edge applique.
Fabrics: Cori Dantini "The Makers", Art Gallery: "Makers", Penquin & Fish.
House: Depot (Germany)
Paint Finish: acrylic/sand paper, decoupage

.... and because everyone needs friends:

I've had this sweet little miniature set that I had gotten from a friend a while back, and I've been waiting for just the right spot to feature these tiny little notions... I think they've found their new home, don't you?

Sewing Techniques: simple patchwork background, girl - freezer paper applique or alternative raw edge applique.
Fabrics: Cori Dantini "The Makers", various scraps from stash
House: Depot (Germany)
Paint Finish: acrylic/sand paper, decoupage

.... are you a maker too?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Write, Review & Revise

It's hard to believe that the first quarter of the year has already passed! Even though I am not a disciplined "write, review, and revise" those New Year's resolutions that we all make, I have been thinking about my original goals that I set out to achieve. My let's-start-the-year-out-right goals were sparked when I had my "Eureka moment"... keep my projects small so I can try out a variety of quilting techniques. Well, before we go any further, let's just start by throwing that one out the window!

Gee... how do I transition from that into my latest WIP's (I'm sharing a little bit of the process now on Instagram)... well, this is essentially the review and revise part of my original goals. I know I am not the only one who struggles with the eternal dilemma of size... and as they say, size really does matter. My thinking behind making smaller projects was to try different quilting techniques, but the flip side of that is that such projects are not always practical. What do I do with a big stack of wall hangings?!?... and I think I am working on my one millionth pillow now! (that's what this one will be - ha!) With my Facing East blocks, I've far surpassed the baby quilt/wall hanging size a long time ago, and am now just two blocks shy of a lap quilt! Then I start all over again and think, what the heck am I going to do with a lap quilt? Well, you can understand the vicious cycle, right?

... but I am proud to say that I have been experimenting with my current projects. I recently visited a blog where the blogger shared her "flop moments" instead of a beauty touched up version of perfection... and I found it to be very honest and totally refreshing! So, with that being said, my latest experimenting has been with curved quilting, but let's just say that it didn't exactly go as I had envisioned... wanna have a peek at my big pull-just-as-many-hairs-out-as-you-do-stitches goof-up?

After much seam ripping... and I mean much seam ripping, I was finally able to get some nice circles. I'm not completely satisfied with my inner circles, and I can't say that I'm ready to do spiral quilting anytime soon... perhaps not even the wisest choice since I needed the spiral quilting to line up with the circle shape, but I guess it's all a learning process... which I think was exactly the core of my original goal in the first place. So, looking at it that way, perhaps I'm right on track!

Another question was what to do with the cut off triangles from the flying geese blocks... I really hate throwing these little guys away, so stitched the other side like you would HST's and I  ended up making this pinwheel strip that will actually be perfect for the back of the pillow.

What are you experimenting on this week?

Fabrics: Alison Glass, Sun & Handdrafted prints
Free Pattern: Heidi Pridemore

Linking up this week to WIP Wednesday.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Keep Your Bags Packed

I've never been a beach girl... sweating in the hot sun, sand in the most uncomfortable place in your bathing suit, sticky from all the sun block lotion, forced to just lay and relax with nothing to do... it's almost pure torture for me, not to mention there's no outlet to plug in a sewing machine! (yes, give me crafting instead of a book ANY day!)

Even though I can't always get to my sewing machine, I still very much enjoy hand sewing projects that can be transported from place to place... the couch, done while driving in the car, on vacations, and yes, even at the beach! And since I joined a local club that hosts a bi-weekly crafting group, it is necessary to have a good little number of those fun little hand stitching projects already packed up... crafting on the go!

Despite my need to craft on the go, ironically I'm not a needle turn applique girl and the thought of English paper piecing is just as unpleasant as sitting on the beach! (see above) But I always have my little crafting basket packed up, ready and waiting with those backburner projects that you have in the works for quite a while, like sweet and small applique butterflies...

...peeling the paper off the back of your paper pieced blocks...

....stacks of freezer paper hexies...

So, is it pretty obvious that I'm so totally crushing like a love-struck school girl on the new Alison Glass fabrics?!? With a fun little stack of strips like this, you can take them anywhere, pet them, lay them out in pretty rainbows, and put them back again to google them later.

All these WIP'S aren't quite ready for their time in the limelight just yet, as they will still be on the back burner for a bit... but linking up anyway to WIP Wednesday

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

"Buttoned-Up" Tutorial & Video

I figured that it was time that I share another tutorial, so as promised, here is the step-by-step tutorial for my "Buttoned-Up" pillow that I shared last week (scroll down for my video of these first steps!):

Download the "Buttoned-Up" template here making sure to print out to actual size. Finished button should measure ca. 7 3/4 inch (ca. 19.5cm) in width. Trace onto freezer paper and cut (4) templates. Cut out the inner circles as well. Place the shiny/slick side of the freezer paper on the wrong side of the fabric and lightly iron onto fabric. Cut around the template approximately 1/4 inch (ca. 1 cm) from the edge of the template.

For the center circles cut small slits towards edge of the small circle being careful not to cut into the freezer paper. For this I actually cut 6 slits that ended up looking like little flowers in the center of the circle.

For the outer edge of the circle, cut slits toward the temple approximately every 1/2 - 3/4 inch, also being careful to not cut into the freezer paper.

Using a glue stick, run a small stripe of glue to cover the inner edge of the small circles. 

I usually use a pair of pointed scissors as a turning tool as I secure the fabric to the back of the freezer paper template. You can of course use your fingers or another tool that you are most comfortable with.

Repeat the same steps on the outer edge of the button template, gluing the fabric inward on the template.

Here's a video that I did to show the whole process in action:

For the background of the pillow I sewed 4 - 11 x 11 inch (ca. 28 x 28) squares together and ironed seams open. Position the (4) buttons in each individual square one inch from the seam as shown. (Quilting will come later, I realized only after the fact that I didn't have an unquilted photo to show the button placement)

Stitch buttons in place as close to the edge as possible using invisible thread. You can use either a straight stitch or a blind stitch. I have an Bernina Activia 240 and use setting #43 when finishing with this option.

Once the buttons have been stitched in place, flip your pillow over to the backside and cut out the inner circle approximately 1/4 inch (ca. 1 cm) from the stitch line. Also cut around the inner circles of the button.

Using a damp cloth, slightly moisten the stitch lines. It's important to not over soak the piece.

At this point you can gently begin to remove the freezer paper from the backside. Also remove the freezer paper from around the inner circles.

Quilt as desired and add decorative stitches as desired. For my finished pillow I quilted the upper left and lower right squares vertically, and the upper right and lower left horizontally. Once finished quilting, trim to ca. 20 x 20 (ca. 50 x 50) square. I actually trim to the actual size of my pillow and do not include a seam allowance. This makes the finished pillow very full and fluffy since the stuffing looses volume after some use. Additionally, I finished the pillow back with G700 interfacing (German product equivalent to SF-101) and simple envelope closure.

Have fun sewing!
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