Thursday, June 21, 2012

Stocking Swap - June

Hello everyone!!  Sorry this posting has come so late in the month.  I have let it slide and now the month is more than half way over!  I can't believe that it will be July in a little over a week.  Amazing how time flies.  If you haven't started already for your stocking swap item this month - it's a bag.  It can be any size or shape or have any kind of handle you want (or even not have any handles).  Your choices are unlimited.  I have posted pictures of several different bags I have made in the last couple of years.  A lot of them were inspired by bags from other blogs and tutorials.  Enjoy and have fun this month making a quick and easy bag!

A little Jenny bag to hold my phone cord in my purse.

A fabric re-make of a gift bag that desperately needed to be replaced!!

My version of a cheap bag I purchased, but that bag was made so cheaply that it didn't hold it's shape and collapsed upon itself, so I had to make a sturdier bag using Timtex and upholstery fabric

Just playing around with scraps.  I gave this one away filled with baby items 

Large Jenny bags.  This is a fun and easy pattern.  You can make your own "handles" or use ribbon.

Friendship bags from P. S. I Quilt blog

Larger version of a friendship bag made using leftover fabrics from a quilt.  Now the quilt has a bag of it's own!

Just playing around with some scraps.  this is a tiny little bag to hold business cards.  I guess it's not really a bag, but it could be made into one.  Just here to give you an idea!

Another version of a large friendship bag made with scraps for a quilt.  It even has the quilt top in the bag waiting to be quilted.  (It may even have the back in there, also.  Now if it has the binding, I am all set to go.

My friend, Kathy's bag.

Another quilt bag.  Leftover Honeybun strips.  The quilt in this bag is from a pattern by Quilt Dad that he posted on Moda Bakeshop. 

Well, just a few bags to get you started on ideas.  Hope you have fun making bags.  Just remember, if you make extras, then you will have gifts already made to give at Christmas time and won't feel rushed in the months of November and December trying to get gifts made.  

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Olive Garden Quilt

What is that song from "Porgy and Bess"?  "Summertime, and the living is easy.  Fish are jumping and the cotton is high."  Or something like that.  That says it all.  It is summertime here for me.  Which means, late nights, daytime naps and summer league volleyball.  It also means that I am usually in the studio sewing up a storm and making new quilts.  Well, not yet this summer.  I have been out of school two weeks and haven't accomplished a whole heck of a lot.  I did start a new quilt based on a quilt posted my first day of summer, June 4th, at the Patchwork Times' design wall Monday.  You can go see it here.  I  had seen a couple of other quilts posted from time to time that were similar, but when I saw this one, I knew I needed to make it.  I also knew what strips I was going to use in this quilt.  I had purchased one of those Moda bags of end scraps.  I love those.  When I get one home, I open it up and start trimming the strips to the largest size each strip will trim to.  For example, this bag had some strips that I could only trim to 1 1/2" and others to 3".  Ideally you would want them all to trim to 2 1/2" so you can have a "jelly roll".  Some bags have fabrics that will almost all trim to 2 1/2" strips, but others don't.  This one had mostly 2" trimmed strips, but I don't really need to have a jelly roll when I am making projects so I am pleased with whatever size they come out to be.  This set had been sitting around just waiting for a project for almost a year (or more - time flies when you are having fun).  So, now to start my first quilt project of the summer. 

I sewed all my strips, longsides together.  Then, I cut them into the right width.   Of course, I didn't completely read through all the directions - who actually does that? - and cut my finished strips to only 3" wide.  (the blog says 3 1/2").  Oh, well, nobody has to know that, right?  It's my quilt and I will make it work.  I then added two white strips (cut 1" X WOF) to both sides of the strip.  Once I had that done, I then cut as many lengths (10 1/2" ) that I could get out of what I had.  I was able to get 42 strip sets so then I knew I would either make this quilt top 6 X 7 or just 6 X 6.  (six blocks by seven blocks, etc.)  

Since my finished strips are 1/2" narrower than the original pattern, I had to figure out how much to cut off the ends to get those perfect points.   I know, totally confusing with out pictures so let me send you to this website to see what all she has done on this pattern.  After reading that, come back here and I will tell you what I did about the triangle cutting thingy since I didn't read through the directions.  I will wait . . . . .

Okay, are you back?  Did you see how she made the pointy thing on the ends?  To get the exact measurement for your triangle all you have to do is divide the width of your strip in half, (mine was only 4" wide) make a square of tape that size, (mine was 2") and then cut in half diagonally, attach one cut side to the longside of your ruler.  Do you want me to tell you how I know it has to be to the longside of your ruler?  Just trust me.  You can't cut your blocks if you square up your tape square with your ruler.  You need that longside of the triangle (I know it has a name, but I didn't ever take geometry and therefore don't know the correct terminology to call it so I will call it the longside or even the bottom?  no, that is too confusing - longside it is)  ANYWAY - tape the longside of the square half to the edge of your ruler.

OKAY - I know that last section is totally confusing.  Here is a picture of my ruler.   I took painters tape and layered it so it would be wide enough to make a square 1/2 the width of my finished strips.   Then I cut it diagonally.  I actually have two pieces I could use, but I only need one.  I peel it up from my cutting mat, flip it over and lay my ruler over the top very carefully - okay, it's painters tape so I don't have to be really careful. If  I mess up, it will simply peel off and I can re-tape it again, and again. Once that edge is lined up, you can start cutting the ends of your strips.  I cut them one at a time since I was afraid the strip would move on me.  If you are feeling brave - go ahead and cut two or three at a time.  I was not brave about it.  I cut all 42 - one at a time - X 4 cuts - that is  - a lot of cuts - no, not really, LOL - I will do the math - that is 168 cuts and this is only the middle of the block!!  Whew. 

Next comes the outside edges of the block.  On Cathy's quilt, she used a variety of prints and I absolutely love the look.  However, I couldn't decide if I wanted to do that or not, so I just selected one solid Kona that I had laying around and started cutting.  Now, since I made my centers smaller - I had to figure out what size to cut my squares.  I started out with 5 1/2", but that was way too big and I didn't have that much fabric.  I ended up using a 5" square, cut on the diagonal and then trimmed the finished block to 7".   Wow.  That is a lot of instructions with very little pictures.  When I find my camera - I will have to add more pictures to this posting.  For now, I will just save it to draft.  As you can see, I finally found my camera and it made it's way up the stairs to the computer.  I am not finished with this quilt.  It still has three more borders to be added before I can call it finished. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012


My friends really, really surprised me today. 

Today was our monthly Bee Friends meeting and I was dragging my feet this morning.  I knew I didn't want to pack up my sewing stuff to take up there and had almost decided not to even go to the meeting, but I had won the last door prize so it was my turn to supply this months prize - which meant that I had to attend the meeting.  So, I drag out of bed - Have I ever told you how my summers reverse themselves for me?  How I go to bed extremely late (2:30 a.m last night) and I usually sleep until 8 or 9.  Well, as I just typed, last night was a late one and when the alarm went off at 7, I just hit the snooze a couple of times and finally re-set the entire alarm for 9.  Telling myself that I had to get up, I finally take a shower, find clean clothes to wear and go to my studio to see what I am taking to work on at Bee today.  I hop, skip and jump down the stairs - not really, I am still in a slight dragging mode, here, get into the car and drive to the ATM around the corner.  I pull out my phone to check for any messages, voice mails or missed calls and there is one from a guy that is trying to get in touch with someone other than me.  This is the second message he has left on this phone, so I know I need to call him and let him know that this is not that person's number.  I dial and it rings and rings and . . . I get an incoming call - - oops, pushed the wrong button, now I can't get back to the screen to hang up on the ringing phone because apparently he doesn't answer his phone on Saturday mornings and the person calling me hangs up.  wahhh. (that's me Lucy crying)  I desperately need to figure out how to work this phone better.  Finally I get the phone hung up and call back the person that was calling me.  It's my friend Kathy, checking to see if I am coming to Bee today.  I am usually there on Saturdays.  I am usually either the first or second person in the parking lot on Bee days.  Since I hadn't said anything to anyone, they were a bit worried and wanted to know if I was going to make it.  It was so nice they were checking up on me. 

Truthfully, they weren't really checking up on me, they had other things planned and apparently I wasn't falling in line with their plans!!!  I come in, talk, talk, talk, order lunch, talk, talk, talk and it's meeting time.  We have a guest come and speak with us about our new Hope House and then it's onto our business meeting.  Here again we talk, talk, talk and then Kathy turns to Liz and says, "Liz, do you have any more new business?"  She says yes and proceeds to say something about me having turned 50 back in April and they all wanted to shower me with 50 somethings.  WOW!!!  TOTAL SHOCK!!!   They got me.  I had no idea!!  They had been planning it for awhile and had even decided not to have the party in May since so many people couldn't be at that meeting.  It was crazy and wonderful!!  The first package I opened had 50 zip top snack bags.  I immediately put a couple of them to use and put away the hand stitching I was doing during the meeting.  Let's see, I don't want to leave anyone out, but I am going to have to do this by memory since the gifts are not right here in front of me.  I received:

50 snack size zip top baggies
50 marshmallows
50 rubber bands
50 - 2 1/2" squares of fabric - all different fabrics
50 5" squares in a charm pack - all matching
50 5" squares - 1 charm pack + 8 others
50 Hershey kisses with air bubbles in them
a deck of 50 cards - she later gave me the rest of the deck so I could use them
50 dollar gift card to Hobby Lobby
50 bites of jalapeno jelly - homemade!!  I have wanted a jar of her jelly for quite sometime, now I have one!!
50 organic doggie treats for my boys (and Fiona)

I think that may be all - I really hope I didn't leave anyone out - I would feel terrible if I did.  It was so wonderful and exciting and overwhelming.  Thank you to everyone for the gifts and the fun.  You are all fantastic and I love getting together with you and quilting.  (I really feel like I am forgetting a gift.  I will have to go check and post about it later if I did forget one)

One of my friends' daughter told her she needed to give me 50 yards of fabric!!  When she said no, then the daughter said, well, what about 50 feet?  I am so glad she didn't.  I really don't need that much fabric added to my stash.  Another one said her roommate told her to give me 50 fat quarters. (She told her roommate she didn't love me that much.)  Again, don't need to add to my stash anymore than I already have!!  

Again, thank you, thank you, thank you to all my friends for your thoughtfulness, your humor and for loving and caring for me. 

The good day continued - when I left there I went to an estate sale and found 3 picture frames to use for family reunion and a large old yellow Fiesta bowl that had been used as a planter.  It had a chip on the lip, but I got it for $1.00!!  If nothing else, I can bust it up and put it with the other Fiesta broken dishes that I plan to one day make into a mosaic.  Great Day!!