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1  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / 1st Birthday Crown on: July 04, 2014 09:48:14 PM
It's been a while since I've been here, but I wanted to share my latest project.  It's the first time I've tried hand embroidery, so I know it's rough, but I do hope it becomes a treasure for my little girl.  I used this tutorial for the shape, but couldn't track down her awesome trimmings and other felt goodies, so I went with this design instead.

Comments, criticisms, and suggestions welcome!

2  QUILTING / Quilting: Discussion and Questions / Help Finding Pattern From Australian Quilters Companion on: October 11, 2009 08:58:16 PM
Could someone who knows more about this magazine help me out with finding this pattern?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/1459933744/in/set-72157602157876032/

The poster says it's from Quilters Companion, which I'm assuming is Australian Quilters Companion.  A quick search on Google isn't turning up a website and I have no idea what volume it would be in.  If you have it or know where I could find it, please let me know.  Thanks in advance!
3  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / Handsewing project for Middle Schoolers? on: July 29, 2009 07:31:18 AM
Does anyone have any suggestions for handsewing projects for 6-8th graders (we're talking about 11-14 year olds)?  I'm teaching Family & Consumer Science (Home Ec) this year, and I would love for the boys to make ties using The Purl Bee's tutorial, but then I would also need a handsewing project for the girls.  I'd also like to offer something other than just ties for the boys.  Any and all suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated!
4  QUILTING / Quilting: Discussion and Questions / SERIOUS help needed with Paper Piecing on: January 19, 2009 06:43:24 PM
Okay, I LOVE this quilt.  My cousin is pregnant and I would love to make a version of this for her shower.  She is using Pottery Barn Kids Airplane Bedding in the nursery, so I thought this would be complimentary without being matchy-matchy.  She's obviously not going to use this in the crib, but if she wants to throw it over the rocker or take it places for the baby to play on, it would work well.  I also wanted it to be something that the baby would use in childhood as well, so I'm going with a 60"x60" generous crib size.

Anyway, I've pieced blocks for one other project, and that was all triangles and squares, with a very straightforward assembly.  I'm quite confused with this one though.  I get that I sew piece 1 to 2 and then 2 to 3, and so on, but it's the actual paper piecing that I'm not clear on.  I've viewed the following tutorials:


Obviously there are so many different techniques out there, so I think I've gone and made myself even more confused.  I need serious help deciding which technique would be best for THIS block, and then at least where to start.  Obviously, I'm going to practice on scrap fabric, and I have until the middle of February, but any and all help anyone can offer would be GREATLY appreciated!
5  QUILTING / Quilting: Discussion and Questions / Linen in pieced quilt top - Opinions NEEDED! on: January 07, 2009 03:11:58 AM
I LOVE The Purl Bee's Zig Zag Quilt and I figured it would be a great, straightforward project for my first full sized quilt (I just finished my first project all together over the holiday).  Simple piecing, simple stitch-in-the-ditch quilting, definitely something I can do.  I showed the pattern to my husband, and while he really liked it as well, he brought up a good point.  We have two 60 pound black dogs who like to lay on our bed.  If I did a white background (red and chocolate brown are going to be the zig zag colors) like in the pictures, that thing would be filthy in no time.  However, I don't want to use a dark background color, because most of the wood in the room is pretty dark (the bed frame, dressers, and floors - the trim and doors are white).  I figure a netural beige or tan will be the way to go.

I've been mulling over how to go about this for a few days.  I definitely want to stay with a solid color, because I like the look of the original quilt.  The white really makes the colors pop, and I don't want to necessarily lose that.  I love the look of natural colored linen, so I though, "Why do I use that?"

Of course, a ton of questions flooded in.  Is that an appropriate material to quilt with?  Will I have to do anything different or take any special precautions while piecing?  Is 100% cotton quilting thread still the most appropriate thread to use?  Am I insane to use linen, which wrinkles so easily, on bedding?  Are there other, better, options that I haven't thought of?

If anyone can offer any insight, I would greatly appreciate it!
6  QUILTING / Quilting: Completed Projects / First Quilt(ish) Project - Scottie Wall Hanging & Pillow on: January 05, 2009 06:19:16 PM
My mother-in-law is notoriously hard to buy presents for.  Her home is decorated like a builder's showpiece (in a good way!), and is very particular about her decor.  She's very petite and slim, so clothes are pretty much out of the question, too.  Last year, I made her one of my Antique Shadow Boxes, which she loved and makes sure she shows to everyone who comes over. 

After much deliberation, I decided to do something with some Scottie Quilt Blocks.  Having never quilted before, or pieced any type of block, I purchased a Quilting Attachment Set and jumped in feet first.  I chose to make a wall hanging, because I figured that it would look great in her office, where she has a Scottie and Westie theme going on (and yes, she has real Scotties, too). 

I'm pleased with it for my first shot, and now I want to do something much bigger for one of our beds.  It is machine pieced (I LOVED the 1/4" foot!) and then I stitched-in-the-ditch just around the blocks with the walking foot.  It was so much easier than I thought it would be!  I used the backing fabric to fold around to the front and hand stitched it as a faux-binding, but I don't think I'd do that again, because in one or two spots it looks wonky for about an inch.  Hubby said he didn't even notice, even after I pointed it out, but he's nice like that, so I don't know. Wink  Without further ado:

I also made a pillow that she put on the loveseat in the office as well.  I quilted the front to a piece of batting, this time around the outside of the block and around the outside of the Scottie itself.  I threw it in the wash before I sewed it to the back piece, but it didn't seem to make a difference in the fluff or quilting (I pre-washed all of the fabrics before I started sewing), but maybe it would have if I would have quilted it in a smaller area.

It is just a removable cover, so she can wash it.

I used Erin's tutorial over at House on Hill Road for the zipper.  It's a great tutorial/method, and I can't recommend it enough!  I've made quite a few pillow covers this way.

I embroidered "The Terriers" on the back, in my very rough, improper embroidery.  You can also see the top sleeve that I attached to the backing.  I glued a ribbon to one dowel rod to slip through to hang it, and cut another to weight it down a bit.

My MIL really loved it, and called me tonight to tell me how great it looks in her office.  I'm so happy that I have someone to gift my crafts to who truly appreciates them.

Also, because this is my first attempt, I would love any constructive criticism or tips you could offer to help me in my next quilt!
7  QUILTING / Quilting: Discussion and Questions / Volkswagen Quilt? Never Quilted - Need Help - IMG ADDED! on: November 23, 2008 09:08:58 AM
Short story: I've never quilted or appliqued before and I want to make a quilt for my Volkswagen-obsessed husband for Christmas.  If you don't want to read the rest, skip down to the bottom where the questions are!

Long story: Last November, hubby got a job 75 miles away.  In May we put our house on the market, and I resigned from my 4 year teaching position.  I applied to many schools, only got two interviews, and zero job offers.  I was devastated.  I mean, this was my career and I do a damn good job, and no one wanted me.  Anyway, I got over that, and the increase in pay from hubby's new job is enough to support us.  Unfortunately, our house hasn't sold, like so many others across the country, so we've taken it off the market for now.  I have a deal with a Vo-Tech school where they guarantee me substitute work Monday through Thursday, so that helps out some.  It also helps that gas is down to $1.79, so those 150 miles a day aren't so painful anymore.  However, we've had to cut back significantly on frivilous spending, and because hubby is bringing in almost 80% of our income, I'm finding it hard just to go out and buy something this year.

I've started on a Volkswagen embroidery that I plan on framing, but I also want to make him a quilt for the couch.  We keep the thermostat set at 58o, because in our 84 year old house with steam radiators, the upstairs gets to be around 75o anyway.  Downstairs, however, can get pretty chilly. 

I've read about quilting, so I understand the basics, but I've never attempted to actually do it.  I can sew reasonably well for a novice, so I figure a small quilt won't be beyond my abilities.  I don't need to do anything fancy, and I'll probably tie it so my meager Kenmore sewing machine doesn't need to sew through all the layers, unless I can find a walking foot on the cheap or someone who will let me borrow their's.

Right now I'm thinking of just doing a large Volkswagen symbol applique on one side, and either fleece or a pieced panel on the other.  Here are my questions:

1. Since the Volkswagen symbol is round, how do I turn under all of those edges?  Can I use the method that Anna Maria Horner uses for her Super Circles?

1b. Obviously I'm planning on hand stitching the symbol to the front of the quilt.  However, would it look better to just cut it out and zig-zag the edges?

2. Would this size quilt be considered a lap quilt?  My husband's not a big guy (5'9", maybe 190 - he's built like a short football player Cheesy), so is just one width of fabric enough?  If not, will it look okay if I sew two pieces of fabric together, if I don't plan on machine quilting over the seam?

3. If I use fleece for the backing, what would be appropriate to use for the batting? Or do I need to use anything at all?

That's it for now!  I really appreciate any help or tips that you can offer!
8  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Turkey Chili on: November 19, 2008 01:55:24 PM
I'm sure to chili purists, this recipe is pure blasphemy, but it's finally cold here, and I needed something to warm me up today.  Scrounging through the freezer and pantry, I realized that I had everything to sort of throw together chili.  Using this recipe as inspiration, I let it simmer on the stove pretty much all afternoon, until I could no longer take it and had to have some.  I also made some mini-bread bowls and had an icy glass of cider from the orchard up the street.  Perfect for this blustery fall day.

Turkey Chili

Olive oil to coat pan (about 2 tbsp)
1 medium onion, small dice
1 red bell pepper, small dice
2 stalks celery, small dice
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 Ancho peppers, soaked in boiling water, then chopped (remove seeds for less heat)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
2 Tbsp chili powder
tsp cayenne (more or less depending on desired heat)
1.3 lbs ground turkey (that’s what the container of Shady Brook Farms ground turkey is that I get – more or less is fine)
cup corn (fresh if possible, frozen if not)
2 – 14 oz cans Great Northern beans
1 – 14 oz can Garbanzo beans
1 – 14 oz can diced tomatoes
1 – 32 oz carton chicken stock
cup TVP (textured vegetable protein), optional
Fresh cilantro, chopped
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Various garnishes (shredded cheese, sliced scallions, sour cream, salsa, etc.)

In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat.  Sweat onion, pepper, and celery until translucent, about 10 minutes.  Add garlic and Ancho peppers and cook for an additional 2 or 3 minutes.  Add spices and stir to evenly distribute in the pot.

Break ground turkey into bite sized pieces and add to pot.  Cook until no longer pink, about 8-10 minutes.

Add corn, beans, tomatoes, and chicken stock.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered until chili reaches desired thickness.  Add TVP to thicken if desired (you could also use barley for this). 

Stir in fresh cilantro, and adjust salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with optional garnishes.

9  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Skull and Bones Necklace and Earrings on: October 24, 2008 08:07:10 PM
I needed some jewelry to go with my Halloween costume, so I took a trip to the craft store(s) tonight.  I started at Joann's, because I also needed some tulle and a zipper, but they didn't have anything that really struck me.  I headed over to Michael's, and parused their jewelry section for a while.  I found a couple of things that could have worked, but I didn't really love them.  My costume is skull themed, so I figured I would grab some clay and just try my hand at making some skulls.  I've never really worked with clay before (other than a few pottery classes, but still), so I wasn't wild about the idea.  Before checking out, I wandered over to the clearance section where they had a bunch of Halloween items.  Digging through the mess I found some plastic skulls, foam skulls, and some other bits and bobs that got the wheels turning.  Towards the bottom I struck gold!

I couldn't find this on their site, but it was on sale for $3.99, which was pretty much the lowest price of all the pendants and beads that I was looking at in the jewelry section anyway.  I'm pretty sure it's made of resin, because it's too heavy to be made of plastic and there aren't any seam lines on them.

I had a chain and jumprings at home (unfortunately, they aren't the same color as the rings on the skull and bones, but I really didn't want to spend more money), so I just picked up some sterling earwires (again, wrong color, but my ears are sensitive) and this is what I came up with.  Don't mind the dark eye makeup, I was giving it a test run tonight, too.

Tell me what you think!
10  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Meet Francine, the Black Apple Doll (10 pics) on: October 19, 2008 06:28:57 PM
I don't normally post things I make for swaps, but I was really proud of all the work that went into this one.  She was the first doll I have ever made, so I felt that she deserved her own post.  Plus, I thought I did something pretty neat with her face(s), and I thought this might give someone else some inspiration.  Her new owner has named her Francine, which I think is quite fitting.

My partner and I agreed to make a muslin doll, with changeable outfits.  That got me thinking about different faces that would match.

Her hair is attached only at the top, so it flips to reveal either mood - in this case, awake or asleep.

Unfortunately, I liked the face I painted for the practice run much better.

Overall, I'm happy with the way her faces turned out though.

I also made 3 outfits.

Autumn Flirty-Skirty (Floral top, Corduroy Skirt, Red Beret, and Red Mary Janes)

Prima-Ballerina (Sparkly purple top, Eggplant tutu, and Cream ballet slippers)

Goodnight, Sleep tight (Flannel Argyle nightie, Argyle and minky blanket and pillow, and cream wool felt bunny)

And here she is all packed up, snuggled tight, and ready to go!

With the exception of the cream wool felt, everything else was made with things from my stash (all fabric, paints, poly-fill, and other notions!), so even though I have put a moratorium on swaps for a while, I thought this one was okay to join!

Comments, questions, criticisms, and all else appreciated and welcomed!
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