Saturday, January 24, 2015

UFO Finish

WOW….I have come up with a way of finishing UFO’s without even stepping foot in my studio….want to know my secret?

Last summer, I wrote about going thru my UFO’s and getting rid of some of those that I thought I would never finish.   As a result, I gave this square…..

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…to the Charity Bee for my Quilt Guild.

It was made in a thread painting workshop, and while I learned a lot while making it, I knew that I would never actually use it.

So, apparently my friend, Nupur, took this block home, thought about it for while,  and turned it into this wonderful quilt…..

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Now THAT is the way to finish a UFO!!!

Thanks Nupur for making me look good!!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Goodbye to a special friend…..

Today I attended the funeral for a wonderful quilting friend, Nancy Bruce.  

I don’t remember exactly when I met her, but I got to know her best during our time together working with the Charity Bee of our local guild.   This group makes quilts that are given to organizations for either their use or for fundraising efforts.

Nancy was a key member of this group, always coming up with ideas for new projects or heading up special quilts that were being made.  One of the last times that I saw her, she was picking up the guild Raffle quilt to sew down the binding…..a job that SO many of us hate to do but one that she was willing to do, even in her cancer weakened state.

She LOVED to paper piece and often laughed at my dislike of the technique and inability to do it efficiently. 

She has a quilt entered in our upcoming show and, fittingly, it is a paper pieced neighborhood of houses…..

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To give you some perspective, the ENTIRE piece is only 12 inches!!!   Those trees in the corners are TINY!!

 

She was always making quilts for other people and I loved this jungle quilt, and yes, that is Nancy happily telling about the quilt and about the person it was made for…..

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And here is another photo of her happily showing a quilt made from a new technique that she had just learned……DSC01326

She loved giving gifts to her friends, especially to celebrate Christmas and I will always cherish my favorite pin cushion with it’s spunky button on top…..DSC04142

One year she gave us Angel ornaments but mine never made it to my Christmas tree.  Instead it was  hung on my design wall and became my quilting angel. 

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Well, it is still my quilting angel, but now it has a name…..Nancy.

I will miss you!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A New Way to work…..

 

Since it is January, I am getting busy with my work and will stay that way until after April 15th when our income tax returns are due.   This necessitates my spending a lot of time SITTING at my desk.  

Last April, I found out that I have a pinched nerve in my back and proceeded to spend about 6 months in Physical Therapy where it slowly got better and better to the point that I didn’t notice it much.   My PT’s mantra was “movement is the key”!!

As soon as I started sitting so much again, it started hurting!

For several years I had thought about getting a standing desk or making a platform for my current desk so that I could stand there.  The problem is that once you have a standing desk, you HAVE to stand…..all the time.

While looking for alternatives, I came across a product called a VariDesk.  It is a platform that sits on top of your current desk and works on a hydraulic system that allows you to easily move from a standing to sitting position.

Here is the standing position……

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….and by squeezing levers on each side

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….I can easily lower it to a sitting position……

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I haven’t had a full workday at the desk yet, but am really looking forward to seeing if it will keep my back from hurting.   The only thing left to get is a short HDMI cable so I can get rid of the looped cable taking up my precious shelf space and a thick foam mat to stand on…..both have been ordered!!

I will update the review as time goes on!!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Joey Pouches

 

In the last post I mentioned that I probably wouldn’t be back in my studio for a while, but that changed when I read a Facebook post about a request from the International Fund for Animal Welfare in Australia. 

Many of you don’t know this, but Michael and I lived in Australia for 6 years during the 1980’s.   While there, we saw the devastating effects of Bush Fires on humans, natural areas and animals.  So, when I heard that they were asking sewers from around the world to unite to make “Joey Pouches” for the young kangaroos who had lost their Mom’s in the fire, I knew that I wanted to join in.

I found the pattern online, purchased some nice flannel and headed upstairs.  Now let me start by saying that this was obviously NOT my day for following instructions because I did several things wrong, but the pouches still turned out ok.

The first step was to cut out the fabrics, translating the centimeters to inches….so far so good.

The steps for making the pouches included…..

  -  turn under an edge along the top of the pouch….. DSC04123

  -  sew it down so that there were no loose threads…..DSC04124

  -  fold the piece in half, WRONG sides together (this messed with my mind at first) and sew down one edge and across the bottom…..DSC04125

  -  turn the bag inside out…..DSC04126

  -  and then sew again around the edges to once again enclose the raw edges….DSC04127

 

Now on the first one, I somehow had in my mind that it was supposed to be folded lengthwise, and I completely finished the sewing before I stopped and realized that there was NO way it could be used…..

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I originally thought I would just throw it away but decided instead to cut out the stitching and cut it down to a smaller size.

In the end I have five Joey Pouches to send….

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Hope they enjoy them…..

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If you want to join in, the website is HERE….

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Still building houses

Over the last three days I have had time to finish making the last four houses.  It was much easier to do them all at one time……

First cutting all of the strips……

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….then doing the painting…..

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and even having time for them to dry naturally!!!

As I got down to the method for putting them together, I remembered to take some photos.

The first step is to attach a roof to each of the four walls…..

DSC04052The attachment is done by butting the edges up against one another and sewing with a wide zig-zag stitch.

You also sew a base to one of the walls.

The next step is to attach all of the roofs starting at the base and ending at the point…..

 

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Finally, you start sewing the sides together, but this time you don’t butt the fabrics up.   Instead, you place the edges wrong sides together and sew a zig-zag stitch over the edge…..

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I sewed the last seam starting at the base and ending at the point again…..

 

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I used the walking foot with my stitching to make sure that everything stayed flat.

After stuffing each house with a bit of fiberfill…..

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…..I used 2 strands of embroidery floss to attach the last three sides of the base…..

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Here are the finished products…..

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I am SUPER pleased with them!!!!

After I finished today, I cleaned my studio and said goodbye for a few months.   I am doubtful that I will be spending much time there for a while, but at least my last project was loads of fun!!!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Little Houses….big fun!!

 

Like many of my recent projects, this started out as a desire to have something else on my mantle during the Winter months.    The idea came from this article in the Quilting Arts Holiday magazine…..DSC04032

I followed the instructions pretty much to the letter, although the very first task was one that I wondered about.   It said to use 1/4 inch strips of neutral fabrics and fuse them to a piece of heavyweight sew-in interfacing.   My first thought was that it was a waste of time and would be better to just use one piece of fabric, but I decided to do it anyway.   The author certainly knew what she was doing because it really added a lot to the look of the house.

 

Anyway, I grabbed the basket that holds my scraps until I have a chance to cut them down and file them away…..

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It was so much fun to work my way down thru the strata of fabrics from previous projects, ranging from the Australian fabrics of last winter, the pinwheel quilt, the Blue Mosque windows, the Pineapple quilt top and even Jenny’s quilt from last week….. DSC04031

I selected a number of pieces and roughly cut them into 1/4 inch strips.  I put wonder under on a piece of interfacing and started adding the strips, ironing every few inches…..

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The next step was to stitch over the piece with cotton thread, covering the fabric strips well…..DSC04035

Next was to pick the color for my houses.   Typically, I decorate with blue in January, February and March, so blue it was……DSC04036

At this point I did realize how badly I need to update my fabric painting supplies.   Most are fairly dried out, but fortunately can be reconstituted with a little water and a lot of shaking!!!!

For the roof, I did opt for one piece of fabric fused to the stabilizer, but I did quilt lines over it using a slight metallic thread.  The roof peaks were cut out…..

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Now at this point, I needed to wait for my blue piece to dry, but I am not very patient with that.   So, I rinsed it out a bit and then ironed it onto stacks of paper towels until it was completely dry…..or close enough.

As per the instructions, I used some stamps that I have (from previous Scrapbooking projects) and added a few more designs to the background fabric.

I cut out the “walls” and added some embellishments of fabric bits, thread and beads…..

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I again followed the instructions for sewing the house together, although I was so excited that I forgot to take photos.   I will add those when I make the next house.

Here is the final project…..DSC04045

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It is a 2-12 inch square and about 10 inches in height.

I am looking forward to making several more of these although I will do them one section at a time and spend a bit more time in the embellishment phase.

One thing I will say, with fabric, thread, paint, beads, stamps and embroidery thread, it certainly is a messy activity.   But let’s be honest, aren’t those the best kind!!!

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