Sunday, August 29, 2010

Now THIS Is A Summer Morning

It was somewhere in the 70's, a breeze strong enough to make a little swishing in the trees, crickets chirping (shouldn't they be sleeping - I know they were up all night chirping) birds singing, and it all felt right.  I had my coffee,  

some yellow paint

and a front porch that needs a facelift

Not even the sight of all this ugly glue under the indoor/outdoor carpet dampened my spirits.

I tried scraping and it actually comes off without too much work.


Yippee! I can get rid of the ugly green carpet if I'm willing to scrape and scrape and scrape. I am!

First coat of yellow is now finished and I love it!  It brightens everything up.

The beautiful summer morning turned into a hot summer afternoon.  I did my share of  work so now I can stay inside and sew guilt free!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

My Grandkids Are Batty

. . . for One Step Ahead

           Here's Cooper

           And Dexter  

Friday, August 27, 2010

Project Quilting - Nursery Rhyme

The final challenge of the first season of Project Quilting required that a nursery rhyme be the inspiration.  No other restrictions were given and the translation did not need to be literal. 

I worked on this for most of the week...

with Cinderella as my inspiration.  While stitching Saturday morning, the day before the challenge was due, I was composing the narrative in my head.  I remembered watching the prince offer his hand to Cinderella for their first dance together and how my heart went pitter-patter.  I'm a confirmed tomboy with jeans and a T-shirt as my "uniform" for the winter and cut-offs and a tank top for the summer.  But there's something about a fancy dress and a waltz that gets me.  Around about this time in my musings it dawned on me (I'll bet you were WAY ahead of me) that Cinderella is not a nursery rhyme.  Drat!  Duh!  Drat!

Her dress was set aside and I started again.  This time with the nursery rhyme....

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockleshells,
And pretty maids all in a row.

A little research on the web told me I didn't want any more inspiration thank you very much.  Ick.   So I thought about niece Mary (and, no, she's not contrary! just pretty & sweet) watering a pretty garden with rows of flowers.   As ruffles were to be a part of my original quilt I couldn't let go of the idea.  I ruffled some strips of green and sewed them into the seams of the quilt for grass. Then I ruffled down the center of a few small print floral fabrics and sewed through the center for rows of flowers above the grass. 

Next I quilted stems and leaves between the grass and the flowers and surrounded all of it with green and white stripes to represent a white picket fence.

Mary started a web-site this week for her business called "re:Fresh by Mary" so I had a little fun with the name and called my finished project "Mary's re:Fresh-ing Garden".

All the rest of the projects can be seen at the Flickr page and at Kim's Crafty Apple.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

You Gotta Know How To Dress

A few weeks ago we had Zak, Caycee and Lynzee for a visit.  We'd been promising to take them for another picnic soon.  It would have been nice to find a place around here and do just that but it's been so hot and heat and MS don't get along at all. 

So we told them we'd have an indoor picnic.  After locking the dogs in the kitchen, we (Karen, don't read this part) spread out a quilt and covered it with plates and bowls of goodies.  Lynzee had apparently been looking forward to the event and dressed for the occasion...   (Karen, avert your eyes!)

You have to click on the picture to read it... it says "this is my little black dress".  Isn't it cute?!

I'm not sure what Scott was sampling but he was trying to convince Caycee that it tasted good.
Caycee wasn't buying it.

It wasn't the same as in the woods.  No green to look at, no breeze to feel, to birds to listen to, but also no bugs!  The kids loved it.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Happy Birthday Jim!

Wish I had some cute pictures from long ago, but I don't.  Had to "borrow" this one.  It's a great picture of you and your beautiful family. 

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Happy Birthday Justin!

Love ya!!!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Have You Seen My Brain?

I don't know where it is or what's wrong with it, but my brain is definitely not in residence with any permanency lately.

Evidenced by the fact that . . .
  • I continually go to the trouble of opening the cabinet, taking out the hair dryer, plugging it in and turning it on before remembering that my hair is so very short that it is dry before I finish toweling off the rest of me and a hair dryer is totally unnecessary.
  • I ask Scott no less than three times each evening what he would like to drink with dinner.  (And sometimes he still gets served the wrong beverage!)
  • I spent 10 minutes (in blistering hot 'heat advisory' weather) searching the back yard for the last two dogs to come inside, when I had already let them in 20 minutes before.
I won't bore you with any more but, trust me, there's LOTS more examples.

I have a few theories....

Maybe it takes off for a short little vacation every now and then.  I'd get away from me for a while if I could.

Maybe my brain's sleep schedule is messed up and it's up and active when I'm sleeping.... hence the odd dreams.  And taking catnaps when I'm awake.

Or it could be getting ahead of me... thinking about the next task before I've finished the one I'm working on.  I'm a very impatient person.  Could be my brain is just a bit more impatient.

Perhaps it's not getting enough ice cream.  That can throw me into a tailspin. 

Since this last theory is the only one I have any control over I think I will work on this one.  Now.

Vintage Linen Lunch Bag Tutorial

You won't mind "brown bagging it" with this fresh looking lunch bag that can be used over and over.  And it's easy to make!

Step 1: Gather your materials
1 piece of vintage linen cut 11" x 20"  (bag exterior)
2 pieces of vintage linen cut 3" x 12" (bag handles)
1 piece of solid coordinating fabric cut 11" x 20" (lining)
2 pieces of solid coordinating fabric cut 5" x 5" (flower)
Ric Rac

Step 2: Construct handles
Press both 3"x12" pieces in half lengthwise.
Fold long edge in to pressed line on each side.
Press each of these new edges, but don't press over the first pressed line. 
Fold in half again lengthwise.
Top stitch close to each edge.
Set aside.

Step 3: Construct bag exterior

Fold 11"x 20" piece of vintage linen in half, right sides together.
Sew along both sides.
Draw a 1" square at each corner of the bottom of this piece.
Cut out square.
Manipulate one of the bottom corners that you cut so that sewn seam touches the start of the bottom fold - you should have raw edges of fabric on each side of this point - sew together to form one side of a square bottom.

 Repeat with the other cut corner.

Step 4. Construct liner

Same way you constructed the exterior...

Step 5: Put it all together

Turn liner bag right side out. 
Place liner bag inside exterior of bag (which is inside out... so right sides are together). 
Place handles between these two pieces with the raw edges of the handle just barely sticking out. The ends of the handle should be about 3" apart.  Pin in place.  Do this with each handle.  (You may find it easier to place the handles if you pin them just to the exterior first, then insert the liner and repin.)
Stitch almost all the way around, leaving about 2 - 3" unsewn.
Use opening left to turn bag right side out.
Topstitch all the way around the top of the bag including the opening you left.

Step 6: Embellishing
Topstitch ric-rac just below the edge of the top.
Make flower by tracing a circle (I use a small coffee container) and sewing the two 5" squares together on the circle.  In the center of just one of the circles cut a small opening. 

Pull circle through this opening so the seam is inside.  Hand stitch - with large stitches - a circle in the center of the flower; leave long thread hanging.  Stuff the center of this little circle with bits of batting. Pull on thread to gather circle and this will ruffle the outside edges of the large circle and will form the flower.  Hand stitch to the bag around the edge of the little circle.

Load and go!

This is my first tutorial...
any suggestions, questions, and comments are welcome!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Project Quilting - Black & White Challenge

Challenge Rules:

Must use black and white. 
May use one other color. 
Finished piece may be 3D but must NOT be square or rectangular.

I've been wanting to do circle blocks for a few challenges now so here was my chance.  I decided on seven circle blocks... six blocks surrounding one in the center.... all laid out on a scallop-edged circle.  Not being sure what block to use, I made several different basic blocks for a sampler look.  A rich Moda Marbles Red would be the third color.  I added little strips of the red to the blocks also.  Anywhere the black and white would have laid next to each other is a strip that's less than a 1/4" wide. 

My biggest problem was trying to figure out how to make the circle shape symetrical.  I experimented with a large sheet of wrapping paper and thought I had a pattern but it was a bit too small.  Since I had gone to the edge of the wrapping paper I couldn't go any larger with an entire pattern so I made a pattern for just one "petal" of the shape - one sixth of the total.  I played with paper and fabric until I found a way to fold the fabric in six equal layers so the petal shape could be used to cut through all the layers and create the whole piece.  I was pretty excited to figure this out.  I'll be using this technique again.

The blocks are fused to the background and I thought about zigzaging around the edges with red thread but then decided to add Fun Fur to jazz it up.  The quilting is echo quilting along most of the red strips.

So.  Jazzed up? Or ready for a bordello?!

To make it dual purpose, I added fabric loops at the indents of the scallops and sewed little metal rings at the outside edge or the rounded parts.  Then several strands of Fun Fur was braided through these.  Turn it over, insert bottle of a favorite beverage (no, not pop!), draw up the Fun Fur and you have a unique hostess gift.

Party Sampler!

More project entries can be seen at Kim's Crafty Apple and at Flickr.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

A Picnic With The Boys

Last week we had the opportunity to take Cooper and Dexter on a picnic.  Back to good old Cook County Forest Preserves.... one of my favorite places.
Dexter was happy with his beans.  Green beans and black (brown?) beans.  Loves them!
Cooper ordered Chicken McNuggets with ketchup (because "barbecue sauce is a little spicey").  We asked for ketchup.  Twice.  But we didn't get it and didn't notice until we were setting up our picnic.  He was so good about it.  He didn't cry or whine.  But every few bites he'd say, wistfully, "I wish I had ketchup."  Poor kid!
Gee. Look what Dexter is focused on.  He's just like his Grandma.
A ride through the woods with Grandpa.
And you can't have a picnic without bubbles.

We all had a good time.  It was just too short!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

ConKerr Cancer & Project Linus

These two pillowcases are for ConKerr Cancer.
And this quilt is for Project Linus.

I was motivated by LoveBug Studios giveaway contest

It's an awesome giveaway.... make items to give to one or all of three charities and earn points.  The highest point earner wins a GO!   I don't have a snowball's chance in h... um ... er ... August, but the charities win no matter what.  I've been wanting to make pillowcases for ConKerr Cancer, and it's been a while since I gave a quilt to Project Linus, so I'm glad for the gentle push.