Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Monday Sewing Day

My small quilting group meets every other Monday, all day long, in a community building. There is enough space for us to all bring our sewing machines and gear and set up for a full day of sewing. These Mondays are a real treat, as there are no interruptions, and it's fun to get together, discover new techniques, bounce ideas off each other, in addition to all the sewing we can get done. We can set up two big tables together to baste a quilt, too.

This week one of the things I worked on was some Christmas ornaments. In the picture above, one mitten is made from commercial felt, and the other three ornaments are made from an old wool skirt that I washed (hot) and dried (hot) in order to felt it. I'd thought that I would stuff them with a little fiberfill, but they didn't really need it; I just did a machine blanket stitch all around the edges.

Next I used up some of my gazillion 5" squares and sewed some coasters. Both the squares and the pattern for these coasters came from Bear Patch Quilting Company in White Bear Lake, Minnesota. Check out their website and see how you can join the "Bear Patch Bits" club. Every month I receive 20 five-inch squares of new fabric that the store has recently added to its stock. It's just like a little Christmas every month when that envelope comes in the mail! This store isn't exactly in my neighborhood, although I have visited it a few times and it's a great store. SisterStitches is the manager at this quilt store, which is how I know it so well.

Here is a close-up of the coasters. Each coaster uses six 5" squares of fabric and one 5" square of batting. The ingenious way they are put together means No Hand Sewing, which is a very nice feature indeed! Place the fabrics together, sew once around all four sides and turn inside out. That's all there is to it. Very easy and quick to stitch up.

I made some of the coasters with a variation. Instead of using four squares on the top to form the basket-weave pattern, I just used two squares. This left a slit in the middle so that the bottom of a wine glass can slip into it. So the coaster serves to protect a tabletop AND to identify the wine glass.

And here is a close-up of the coaster/wine glass holder.

I only made a small dent in my 5" square collection, but it's a start!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holiday Smooching

There's a little bit of holiday smooching going on in my house!
These two little bears just can't help themselves; they are stuck together as if by magnets! Get a room, you two...

And now I leave you with a nice friendly smile. This is actually a place on the floor where two interior French doors close. It looks so happy, doesn't it!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Ribbon Holder to Give Away

Would anyone like this ribbon holder? It holds three rows of ribbon spools, and you can get quite a few spools in there, as you can see from the photo. There is clear plastic over the top, where the handle is. It looks a little wonky in this photo, but that's just from being photographed against the grid of the tile floor. It's absolutely straight and un-bent. I used this one for quite a while, then decided another storage method would work better for me. I have another ribbon holder just like this one, in a box that has never been opened, which is the one I will give away.The dimensions are: 12" wide by 17" high by 5 1/2" deep. Here is a side view below. It actually works quite well, as you can pull on the end of the ribbon to turn the spool, and cut the ribbon needed without removing the spool from the rack. Of course, it's very easy to remove the spools from the rack, too. Nothing tricky or complicated about it!
So let me know if you can use this, and I will ship it on over to your house!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Holiday Gift Tags

Who knew?
Shouldn't have been surprised.

This same technique for making holiday cards
(see previous posts here and here)
works for gift tags, too.
Not surprising, but it's easy to whip up quite a few gift tags
in a short time by cutting small green triangles and card stock,
and gluing one to the other.

I hope that all of you are at least this far in your
Christmas gift-giving! Gift tags are always the last thing I think of. Don't usually remember to buy any, so am left making my own when I finally get into the throes of gift-wrapping!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Holiday Quilters' Poem

Twas one holiday eve,

Through a window I spied

An ambitious quilter

Who was fit to be tied.

Stacked all around

Were her projects galore:

Wall hangings, quilts,

Hand-sewn stockings and more.

She rushed to and fro

Not a moment to spare,

As batting and fiberfill

Flew through the air.

Pinning and basting

And stitching so fast

She tied her knots tight,

So the presents would last.

When finally dawn

Showed its face in the east,

All the presents were finished

And all action had ceased.

I heard when she hollered

With a grin ear to ear,

“Have a wonderful holiday,

And a happy new year!”

An original (more or less) poem by


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

News Update and Card Variation

My news update is that both my Christmas Card tutorial and
the One Pretty Thing website.
You can see my two contributions here and here.
That's exciting for me! BTW, there are tons of wonderful crafting
ideas on One Pretty Thing, both Christmas-y and other.

I had a comment on my blog post about the Christmas cards from
someone who suggested using magazine pages as a
source of paper for the trees. And that would
work really well, I'd think. Make it a great project for younger
kids, or for a larger group.

That made me think that other materials could be used for cutting
the trees/triangles. Like fabric! Duh, MissesStitches! I am a
quilter after all; I probably have a little
fabric on hand.

So I decided to make a few more cards using fabric triangles.

Here are some fabric triangles that I cut. They are lying on
my paper cutter, which has half-inch squares on it,
so you can see the approximate size.
Since I used a little gold paper to make some brighter trees,
I looked for some gold fabric to use. I know
I have some sparkly gold fabric somewhere, but I couldn't find it.
I found a couple fabrics that are gold-ish,
so they will have to do.

And here are the very small triangles cut out.

This photo shows the front of the card with fabric trees glued down...

and the inside of the card with three small trees.

I really liked using the fabric, as it created texture.
Again, I just used a glue stick to glue them down.
Unlike the paper, when I
applied the glue to the fabric it would sometimes
start to fray the edges a little bit. But I liked that, because it was
like adding pine needles to the trees!

Here's a close-up of one of the cards, where you can see some of
that fraying-edges stuff going on.

And these are the three cards I completed in just a few minutes this morning!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Making Christmas Cards

More Christmas crafting!
Today I'm showing you how I made some super-easy
Christmas cards.

These are the materials needed:

scraps of paper (can be wrapping paper, craft paper,
metallic paper, textured paper, whatever you have--I used mostly
greens, but added a little glitzy gold, too)
glue stick (or whatever method you prefer)
blank card forms (or make your own from card stock)

Cut the paper randomly into triangle shapes. No pattern needed, just cut various sizes from your paper. Don't worry if not all the shapes are
perfect isosceles triangles;
have you never seen a tree that is a little lop-sided!?!
You can see from
the ruler that most of my bases are somewhere around 1 inch wide.

Now also cut some (not as many) much smaller triangles
(half-inch or smaller at the base).

Here are the "trees" laid out on the front of my card. As you can see,
they are not necessarily centered. I have simply overlapped one tree
on top of the next, varying the heights and sizes of the trees.

The above photo shows the trees glued down. (I guess they are fairly centered,
but that is definitely optional!)

Now to use up those little tiny trees...
I always like to put at least a little something inside the cards I make,
rather than leaving them blank.
So here I glued three little trees down in the corner.

As you can see, there is a lot of flexibility with these cards, and
a lot of room for your own personalization and creativity!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Christmas Craft

MissesStitches is at it again with the wine corks!

The other day I dug into (part of) my collection
of wine corks. An idea had popped into my head which I wanted to try.

Here is my arsenal of tools: wine corks, hot
glue gun, and paper to cover and protect the dining room table.

Glued together a row of corks.
What can MissesStitches be up to?

Now here's a second, third,
and part of a fourth row,
all glued together.

An action shot! This is how the corks are actually glued together!

I took a little break, because I got some
hot glue on my finger. That stuff really is hot! I couldn't get the glue off right away, so it stayed there and burned me. OUCH! I ran some cold water over my finger for a while, then went back to work, with a nice little white blister on my index finger. Of course, it had to be right on my trigger finger, so this hampered my glue gunning style somewhat.

Now you can probably tell what it is going to be!
A wine cork mini Christmas tree! Now to add a base to the tree...

a little Christmas
ribbon to wrap around it all...

...then attach
a little mini-bow to the top

Voila! You can see that I chose to arrange the corks in rows of red and white. Thought about doing it randomly. Thought about doing it in concentric "circles," if you get what I mean. Maybe for the next one....

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Urban Burp (Oh, pardon me!)

I finally went to Urban Burp today for the first time!
Not exactly sure why it took me
so long, but some things are like that.

Urban Burp is a vintage fabric store with an amazing collection of fabrics.
It is located near
the North Beach
neighborhood of San Francisco.
I had heard that it is a little challenging to find,
but I didn't have much trouble.

It's a delightful store, not
very large, and the owner is
very friendly and helpful.
She asked me what I was interested in, then
gave me a quick tour of the shop, telling
me which wall has
30's-60's fabric, for example, where the upholstery fabric is, etc.

I had a nice little browse-around,
and ended up choosing some
very nice fabrics. I'm not really into vintage fabrics
(or even reproduction fabrics),
but I found a few really pretty prints.

The photos, from top to bottom, show my stack
of fabrics, some pretty morning glory fabric,
the nice white-on-cream print,
and the lovely tie-dye looking piece that might
be useful for a landscape piece.

Nice treasures, don't you think!?!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sign of the Times

Here is a sign that is hanging on a street pole in San Francisco.

I have seen other signs there before, with words/phrases that sometimes are funny, and sometimes seem to make no sense (at least to me). They are obviously put up by an individual. I sometimes wonder how many people even notice the signs. Do people assume it's just another NO PARKING sign?

I have several photos of strange signs (in boxes somewhere!) that I have taken over the years. Some with unusual or surprising words, some with strange icons or depictions. I'm fascinated by strange signs.

I decided to try to find out why these signs are here.

It was very easy.

It turns out, not surprisingly I guess, that this is an art installation. The artist's name is Anthony Disenza and you can see a little bit about him, as well as some more of his signs, here.

There is actually going to be a showing of his work at the Catherine Clark Gallery in San Francisco in January 2010. I hope I get to see the exhibit, as I'm curious about this artist, and would like to see more of his work.

And you can bet I'll be there with my camera when I see a new sign go up!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A New Blogger

Here is a brand new member of the blogging community. My granddaughter, BabyStitches, has started her own blog. I think she gets a little help from her mom, DaughterStitches.

I have her blog listed on the sidebar of my blog, and you can also find it here. So check out her blog, as I'm sure it will be very amusing. And probably enlightening, too, to those of us who are older than 18 months!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Results of Wine Dyeing Experiment

Here are my pieces of fabric drying, after I had left them in the wine overnight. It really smelled good when I opened the container holding the wine and fabric! It turned out as I had thought it might, with the white print on the fabric not picking up the "dye," leaving it looking white.

And here is the fabric dried and ironed, a lighter shade than when wet, as could be expected. I like how the long narrow strip has a little variation in color, as it was on top of the pile, so didn't get as saturated with the wine as the other pieces did.

Not sure how the fabric will wash--how much it will fade. I did put them through the dryer, after they had air dried, because usually my wine-stained clothes don't wash out after I've put them in the dryer!

Now I want to experiment with different colored fabrics. And I really like the variegated look, so I'll probably make my next wine-to-fabric ratio a little lower.

Went out for dinner with MisterStitches last night and had a beet salad (I absolutely love beets--I know, people usually either love them or hate them!). I started wondering how beet juice would work to color fabric...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Wine Dyeing Experiment

I tried an experiment this evening.
I snitched a little wine from our evening meal, as I wanted to see how it would
color some fabric.

I poured the leftover wine into a
hard plastic container.

Then added some white fabric scraps. I chose
tone-on-tone fabrics, to see how the
different parts of the fabric would take to the "dye." Here are the fabrics I used,
in the "before" stage.

And here are the pieces of fabric in the wine. Maybe I'll go put Saran Wrap over the top. Not sure what difference that will make, but it might be better with all sealed in.

I'll let you know how it comes out.
(Do you like my wine-colored text!?!)

I know, some of you will think that this is a terrible waste of good wine (and it really was good!), but sometimes we have to sacrifice for our art. What can I say?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Scrappy Quilt

I finished the scrappy quilt (on schedule, I might add, but I didn't get around to posting about it till now), and am quite pleased with it.
It was so much fun to put together, and I like its rather crazy appearance.

The above photo shows the quilt after it had been washed and dried, to fuzz all the edges and "wrinkle" the background fabric.

Here's a close-up of part of it, so you can see just how haphazardly the sewing was done! Unfortunately, you can't really see the cute purplish binding I used. I was amazed how much thinking actually went into choosing the binding! (Probably more than the main part of the quilt...) I auditioned quite a few different binding fabrics. Some turned out to be too busy (i.e. colorful), some were too uninteresting, some were too bold. But I finally chose a purple that has several different purples in a print, so it reads almost like a solid.

I was planning to give this quilt to my Guild for a comfort quilt, but a friend suggested that I first put it in our Festival of the Trees booth and see if it sells. If not, then it can be a comfort quilt. Whatever! I just made this quilt for the fun of it, so I don't really care where it goes.