Sunday, September 27, 2009

Photo Blocks

One of my responsibilities for my son's wedding last month was to arrange the rehearsal dinner. So I decided to make my own table decorations for the dinner. I found this idea at the Alpha Mom Once Upon a Holiday blog. This particular blog entry was by Marie LeBaron THANK YOU, MARIE!!!. You can get the whole step-by-step tutorial at that location, so I'll just talk about how I made my version.

My son helped by supplying the blocks, and for sanding and rounding the corners on most of them for me. I primed and then painted them in a kind of wine color, as that was the bride's color choice for the wedding. The sizes of my blocks ranged from about 3" square to 6" square, and one oblong block that I used, too.

After the paint was dry I used very fine sandpaper to roughen up the edges and corners a tad bit, but I wanted the older, weathered look.

I used ModPodge to apply photocopies of my photos to five sides of the cubes. I have some old wooden thread spools that worked well to hold the cubes up off the newspaper while they dried. On my first, trial block, I used a couple actual photographs, but decided I wanted a thinner paper. Copying the photos on a copier worked, but
I used an ink jet printer. That meant the ink reacted with the water in the ModPodge, which made the photos appear a little "fuzzy." Might be an interesting look, but I decided I wanted the photos to be clearer. So I took them to a copy shop that used a laser jet printer.

I applied several coats of ModPodge, lightly sanding with fine sand paper between layers. I used some fine steel wool to smooth the last layer.

These blocks were a fun decoration at the rehearsal dinner, and a good conversation starter. They got passed from one table to the next during the evening. After the wedding, I cut felt squares the size of the various blocks, and glued them to the bottoms of the blocks. Now, if the bride and groom wish, they can set these on a book shelf or table for a decoration.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

New Baseball Cap

I love my new Giants cap! These were being given away a couple of weeks ago at a game, so MisterStitches and I each received one. I really like the raggedy finish on the "SF GIANTS" square. The raggediness (if that's a word) is similar to a new quilt I just started. I'm not very far into the quilt, and I am going to have a big interruption in my schedule, so I won't be getting back to that quilt till about the end of October.

And here's the back of the hat, which leaves little doubt as to who we were playing that day. And, after losing the first two games of the homestand to the *&^$%#@> Dodgers, we finally beat them on the third day! The day we received the caps, the Giants won.

Maybe they should have given these same caps to the Giants players two games earlier, as they clearly hadn't received the instructions: "BEAT LA."

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Getting Almost.......Where?

I've been working, off an on, on my tumbling blocks for at least a couple years now. I mentioned them in this post, and also here.

I counted up today, and I have completed 275 of those little buggers!
Feels pretty good--at first.
But my book tells me that I need 300 tumbling blocks for just a twin size quilt!!!
Do I want a bigger quilt than that?
Do I want to work on this for a few more years?
How long can I really expect to live?
All questions to ponder.

But we quilters can sometimes be very patient. I think I'll keep working so I can get a little bigger quilt than this. Anyway, doing this little hand-sewing is
kind of therapeutic for me. (yawn) I'll post again in a
couple years about this project!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Bride & Groom Aprons

I have a second wedding coming up in my family! In addition to having SonStitches get married to MissesStitchesJr, my lovely niece is getting married very soon. Her nice friends gave a shower for her last week and invited me to it. (Was I maybe the chaperone?!?) The shower was lovely, and it was so nice to see how much all the girls care about NieceStitches.

This photo shows part of my gift to NieceStitches. I found patterns in Quilters Newsletter for a paper pieced block of a bride and a groom (June/July 2009 issue). Now, I haven't done much paper piecing, but I've always wanted to, so I decided to give these little squares a try. I purchased some plain, full bib aprons on which to sew the finished bride and groom. The block is only 3" square finished,
so there were many small seams to sew!

Here is the bride's square. I added an eye (French knot) and some silk ribbon embroidery, plus cotton embroidery to give her a little bouquet. Notice her very pointy little high heels!

And here is the groom's square. I gave him an eye, too, and using silk ribbon, made a larger French Knot to represent the ring that he is offering to his bride.

Then I added the little strips around the edges and sewed them to the aprons. I know that these two like to cook a lot (I've sampled their efforts, and they are really GOOD at it!). I hope that these aprons will be used and stained a lot!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Organic Cotton Fabrics

Here is a link to an interview with my friend, Harmony. She is the founder of Harmony Arts, and she designs organic cotton prints. I am lucky to live near Harmony, and let me tell you, a visit to her storage room is a real treat! She has huge bolts of beautiful fabrics there! Her fabric has such a nice hand--she has several different types of fabric, including some knits, which are great for baby clothes. So check out her website, and this most interesting interview with her.

Above is one of Harmony's designs, called Whispering Grass.

Check out the interview here:

Friday, September 18, 2009

Wonky House Quilt Block

I call this my "Wonky (yes, that's a technical term) House" square. I made it for a President's Quilt. Each president of our Guild gets to choose a special/favorite block. Then as many members as choose to, make her one or more blocks to the specifications. Some people choose a specific pattern and request certain colors. Some people choose a specific fabric. Some people only give suggestions! This square is for my friend Barbara. She simply gave us a good-sized swatch of fabric and said to do whatever we wanted, as long as it finished 11 1/2 inches square. She offered rust-colored fabric and bright blue fabric. I chose the rust-colored, but had no idea what to do with it. Thought I might do a crazy square. But if she decided to use this quilt, and not just hang it, a crazy patch isn't usually very washable.

But I remembered this "wonky house" that I'd seen in Quiltmaker Magazine (#126, March/April 09). I used the rust fabric for the house. It's a fun square to make, because there is no pattern! You just cut strips and make it all up as you go. I think I'd like to make a whole quilt like this.

After I had the house/grass/sky section made, I wanted to use some more of the rust fabric. So I decided to add some fall foliage trees next to the house. I had this great wood-grained fabric, and just put together some of the smaller rust pieces with some green ones for the tree's leaves. I added a watering can button for the flowers, another button for the doorknob, and some embroidered smoke coming out of the wonky chimney. The last step was to embroider my name on the square.

Not sure if Quiltmaker has this pattern available online, but if you're interested, let me know.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Flower Girl Dress

This is BabyStitches's flowergirl dress for SonStitches's wedding. The dress was bought, then I added the colored fabric to the sash as you see on the right. The color of the fabric is the same color as the bridesmaids' dresses. The cute little flower on the sash was just pinned on like a brooch, so it was easy to remove and sew back on.

This shows the back of the dress, with the bow tied.

And here is BabyStitches wearing her dress, and looking very serious. I'd like to have a photo of her standing, but will have to wait for someone else to send it to me!

I must confess that I needed two tries to get this simple thing right! The photo below shows that my handstitching wasn't very neat. The back looked even worse, with large, uneven, unsightly, maroon stitches marching in two lines down the length of the ties!

So I ripped out my stitches (oh joy) and redid the sash, a lot more carefully this time. As you can see in this last photo, it looks a lot smoother from the front, and the stitches don't show very much in the back. MissesStitches was a lot happier!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Good Show!

Well, this was a first. I was at the Giants game last week, and during the 7th inning stretch we all (of course) stood up to sing Take Me Out To The Ballgame. There is usually some more music played after that song, and since my kids weren't with me (they embarrass easily!), I felt free to continue dancing until the music stopped. When I sat down I heard from a few rows back, "Good show!" I turned around and saw that he was talking to me! So I said thanks, and "I'll be here all week." Well, what do you think of that, KidsStitches. Someone actually complimented your mom's dancing! (Or maybe he was just highly amused. That's a definite possibility.) Hey, I'll take what I can get!

Friday, September 11, 2009

The wedding, September 5, 2009

Here is a photo (finally) from the wedding. It was taken on the steps in front of the cathedral. Oh look! I just noticed that you can see part of Katie's train behind everyone on the right side of the photo! Her train was nice and long--very beautiful, and her veil was the same length.

Anyway, on the left is beautiful DaughterStitches, then me (MissesStitches) and MisterStitches, then the bride and groom, SonStitches and DILStitches, DIL's wonderful parents, and DIL's beautiful twin sisters.

The ceremony in the Episcopal cathedral was beautiful, with so many good friends attending, as well as most of our families. (Poor NieceStitches was busy saving lives as a nurse, so she couldn't come, sadly.) It means so much to me when friends and family come together for a celebration like this. People really do go to a lot of trouble and expense to attend, and I appreciate that.

And the reception was so much fun! I didn't know that I still had enough energy to dance so much! (My body complained loudly the next two days.) Dancing is so much fun, though. We had a big group of people on the dance floor, all dancing together. Little BabyStitches did her share of dancing, too. She was the flower girl, and enjoyed herself quite a bit that night.

More photos to come.....

Monday, September 7, 2009

Mr and Mrs SonStitches

I am so very, very happy. SonStitches got married on Saturday, so now I have a brand new daughter-in-lawStitches! I love DILStitches so much, and have been waiting for this day for a long time. The wedding was beautiful, in Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, and the reception afterward was so much fun. Weddings are always such a good time to see family and friends, who come into town for the occasion. DaughterStitches was a maid of honor, SILStitches was a groomsman, and BabyStitches was the flower girl. It looks really strange to see my son with a ring on his hand! Both our kids are married now, both to wonderful people. We couldn't ask for more. Really.

When I get some photos, you can bet I'll be showing a few off here. Check back later.

Friday, September 4, 2009


I am so happy to be telling you that tomorrow my dear SonStitches is getting married. I don't usually talk about personal, family things on this blog, but the wedding has been very big in my mind, especially the last two weeks.

This is one of the projects that I've been working on for the wedding: ring bearer pillows. There are two ring bearers, and I offered to make the pillows (I'd made the pillow for DaughterStitches's wedding a few years ago). The wine/burgundy color matches pretty well the bridesmaids' dresses.

Our granddaughter, BabyStitches, is going to be the flower girl. I've added some wine colored trim to her little white dress, and made a headband for her to (hopefully) wear during the ceremony (unless she pulls it off)! Photos to follow, I promise.

There have been some more craft projects that I've been working on for the wedding, too, and I will share them with you later.

Family started arriving yesterday, a lot more today, and I can't wait to see everyone!

Suffice it to say for now, that I am very excited about the wedding, and I'm so happy that SonStitches is marrying KatieStitches. She is a wonderful woman, and I love her dearly.