Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12/12/12 and I'm 33!

Months have passed since my last post.  I don't have many readers, and I don't have much interesting to say at the moment.  Glad I don't do this professionally! 

Today is my 33rd birthday!  I'm really excited to get my new, ridiculously ugly, driver's license with the issue date of 12/12/12.  I'm not doing anything crazy license and sticker for the car.  Going to the book store and maybe sephora to get my free birthday gift.  A movie with mom, although I can't decide what I'm going to see...torn between Skyfall (which I hear is very good) and Anna Karenina (which I have never read and don't know much about)...  After the movie I get to babysit the most adorable baby in the world currently under 4 months old for about an hour or so.  On my way home I'm picking up my DQ ice cream cake, which is my absolute FAVOURITE birthday treat!  Then possibly to dinner with my husband, son and mother if there's time. 

Busy day!!

Feeling a little down though.  There was another loss of life that wasn't extremely close to me, but was very dear to my mom and it's made me a little sad.  I also wish my husband's job future was more secure at the moment...but I'm very happy that he's gotten his program to work.  He's getting two master's degrees in May and the project for electrical engineering was giving him a bit of trouble.  It's working now though, so YAY!  He's had his physic's project done for ages I guess.  :-)

Off to the bureau of motor vehicles! 

If anyone reads this at some point in their lives, I hope you had a fantastic day today, December 12th, 2012!  

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Thanks for voting for me!

Thank you to anyone and everyone who voted for me in the Play mini quilt competition!  I won the most popular vote!  I'm so very excited!  Not only am I walking away from the competition with a fantastic mini quilt that I can't decide where to hang or display, but I'm also going to have $35 dollars to spend at the Fat Quarter Shop!!!

I am dreaming of what I'll get!  Maybe some of this:





but more than likely, I'm thinking this:

I would love to make a quilt with this gorgeous Andalucia fabric in Evergreen for my bedroom.  Brian has approved the color scheme and fabrics and I think it's perfect for our cave-like bedroom!  I'm so excited!

Thanks again!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Fleece and Anubis

I wanted to share some cute photos of my lovable dog, Berkeley, enjoying his favourite thing: sucking on his fleece blanket.  He's had many different fleece blankets over the past few years.  Each of them ending up looking like swiss cheese!  You see, he loves to suck on the fleece for some reason.  He kneads it like a cat kneads it's claws into a pillow, or your leg.  And sucks on it.  It's hilariously cute so here are some photos.

I also thought I'd throw in some photos of my boy as Anubis!  Hand sewn Anubis head.  He loved it and was so happy!!  They had Ancient Egyptian Day in his class yesterday and he was dying to be Anubis, god of funerals and burial.

And here he is doing the Anubis pose! 
Anubis, god of embalming and burial, would weigh the heart of the deceased.  If it was light as a feather (Ma'at) the soul would go to the afterlife, living forever.  If it was heavy, a mean monster guy ate your heart and you went to the underworld.  Here Alexander is demonstrating the weighing ceremony.  

Monday, May 28, 2012

Quick and Easy Coaster Tutorial

Quick and Easy Coaster Tutorial - by fern's frocks 
please feel free to make these to your heart's content, but please link to this page if you share the tutorial, or if you sell them...mention ferns frocks as your inspiration.  That would be pretty fantastic of you!  :-)

Materials needed:

  • fabric- enough for 8 squares, approximately 5 inches each. (this allows up to a half inch seam     allowance depending on your sewing preference. 
  • absorbent fabric for inside- I use birdseye diaper cloth from that I love.  It's thin, and absorbent.  Flannel would work as well! you need 4 squares, same size as your fabric squares
  • thread- coordinating or contrasting!  whatever you like!
  • sewing machine- although one could complete this sewing by hand if you really wanted to.
  • optional: serger-this honestly makes super quick work of things.  But, a zig-zag stitch or stitching 1/4" in the seam allowance will also do the trick.

Let's get started.  
1.  I suggest using a ruler and rotary cutter to cut your squares.  It's quick, easy, and accurate.    I must admit, I didn't when I made my coasters...but I had in mind that my serger would cut away my imperfect cuts(and it did!).  

2.  Once you have your squares, take two of your main fabric and put them right sides together.
(2) my "open end for turning right side out" edges were each serged to prevent fraying when turning.  feel free to do this as well!  but it's not necessary.
3.  Then, take one square of your absorbent fabric and place it on top of the wrong side of a square.  It doesn't matter which one.  Make sure you line up the edges.  If you'd like, and it makes you more comfortable, you can pin the squares before sewing.  I used my serger and did not use pins.

(3) please ignore my nail polish, it's been a long week...
4.  Start your stitching 1.5 inches from one of the corners and sew to the corner.  This side will be where you turn the coaster right side out.  It also makes it neater if you are using a serger to start there and sew out...
(4a) pins are marking where I started my stitching
(4b) note the pin is only marking the side not going through the serger at the moment

5.  Next sew or serge the next 3 sides completely.  

6.  When you get to the 4th side (flip coaster over if serging), start the stitching 1.5 inches from the corner and sew to the corner.  

(6) all sides stitched
7.  Next, if you did not use a serger, sew 1/4 inch from your first stitching (in the seam allowance) to reinforce your coaster.  

8.  You may clip the corners before turning if you'd like, and depending on how big your seam allowance is, I recommend it.

9.  Now you're ready to turn your coaster right side out.  Use a tool of some sort- back end(not sharp side!!) of a seam ripper, pencil, dowel, your finger, etc to push the corners if needed. 

10.  Fold the opening's seem allowance and iron entire coaster.  
(10b) showing coaster after ironing
 11.  Next you're ready for the final step!!  Top stitching!  Start on the opening side, about an inch from the corner and stitch all around your coaster! 

12.  I do a bit of back stitching when I start and finish to make it secure, then I tie my ends and clip.
(12b) again with the polish...


                                                             A Coaster!!!  

Repeat the process for the remaining squares!  When you're done you have a great hostess gift, instant perk up for your living or family room, or a great gift for teachers!  Really, I don't know too many people who wouldn't want fantastic coasters hand made by someone who cared for them!!

tying a ribbon around your set always adds a finished and professional look!

Thanks for reading my tutorial.   I hope you enjoyed it.  Please feel free to leave me comments!  Criticism, compliments, pointers, etc!  I'd love to hear it all!  

Enjoy the day!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Play! Mini Quilt Competition

Somewhere, during the Sew, Mama, Sew giveaway day(week) I read a comment that recommended this fun blog: SewHappyGeek.  I was intrigued and definitely liked what I saw.  PLUS, there was a little competition (please go check it out and vote for your favourite!!!) I could totally try!  I decided to fit with my theme of "jumping right in" I would join the party and make my FIRST EVER(!!!) quilt!

A mini quilt, of course. (13" x 13" or so) Just dipping my toes into the quilting world, I'm not ready to take the full plunge yet!  For my first go at it, I think I did a pretty decent job.  I'm very proud of my "Whooo's got an Ace?" mini quilt.  In fact, I've been seen carrying it around the house.  He's actually sitting next to me on the couch right now as I type this! 

The premise of the contest, Play Mini Quilt Competition, was to take a playing card and let it inspire you to make a quilt!  See the flickr group here for all the inspiration and completed cards:

When I read about the competition, I knew exactly which cards to get from my stash!  I have some fantastic vintage owl playing cards that belonged to my wonderful Grandma.  PERFECT!!!

She was a social woman, for the most part, and had bridge parties all the time for as long as I can remember!  I have many fond memories of helping her clean the house (okay, fond may be stretching it when referring to all the dusting I had to do...), setting up the card tables, putting out the cashews and other mixed nuts, and then getting out all the decks of cards from the hexagon side table in her gold living room.  My grandmother was one of my best friends.  Always encouraging, always believing in me, always loving!  I wanted to be her when I grew up!  She's been gone more than ten years now and so this quilting project really held special love and meaning for me.  Especially since it is coinciding with an unpleasant anniversary for my family.  Making something beautiful, creative, and fun from inspiration that was my grandmother's just really makes me feel wonderful.

So thank you Jenna, of SewHappyGeek, for having this competition!  I really needed it right now and I am just pleased beyond belief with myself and my results!

From those two cards above I drew a little sketch of what the pieces of my quilt would look like.

Then I started choosing fabrics!  I loved my choices, many of which are more than 10 years old!  Perfect for my vintage card!  The tail fabric, and ears, is from a dress I made myself during my 'dirty hippie' years more than ten years ago.  The breast of the owl is from fabric for a skirt that I never finished.  It's actually crocheted fabric in the shapes of peacock feathers.  The wings are a paisley print I also used 8 or 9 years ago to make a messenger style bag for myself.  Actually, the only 'new' fabric (as in less than 1 year old) on the entire quilt was the yellow used for the leaves, highlights in the eyes, and highlights to the one green owl sitting in the 'club'.  All the other fabrics range from 2-12 years old!  How fun!

I definitely enjoyed making this quilt.  I cut all my pieces and laid them out.  

Then carefully used a bit of liquid stitch to baste each piece.  Then, I got to work stitching everything.  I wanted to leave all my edges raw on the applique because a bit of fraying will look like feathers!  

I used a lot of decorative stitches on the owl side.  And free form stitching on the club side.  

I even made the eyes glow in the dark!!!  Hard to capture in a photograph, even in fireworks mode, but I tried!  

glowing eyes...if you can tilt your screen back and forth or up and down, or move around while looking, you might be able to see it better...(looking from above seems to work well on my screen)
Once I was satisfied with both sides, I quilted them together using straight stitching on my machine on the borders only.  I really decided I didn't want to go into my feature squares that much!  I just didn't want to ruin them.  Plus, I didn't have a good thread to blend in very well to the foundation pieces.  

I had fully intended on using this awesome 'lime' bias tape from 1974, but I realised it was single fold.  I tried to make it work by doubling up and just stitching it together, but I just couldn't do it.  So yellow with lime green stitching worked!

Again, I couldn't be more pleased with my results.  I bounded out of my sewing room (yes, bounded!) to show my husband my glorious accomplishment late last night.  He was impressed!  Knowing that I have never quilted before and that I finished it in 2 days!!!

I can't wait to do more!


Also, there's voting involved for part of this competition.  Voting begins Tuesday, May 29th at 5 AM EST and ends Friday, June 1st at 6 AM EST.

Please vote for your favourite here:  (I'd love it if it was mine!)

Friday, May 25, 2012

My First Giveaway---The Winner!!

Wow!  I'm so happy I had over 100 people like my coasters enough to enter my giveaway!  Thanks!  I enjoyed reading all the comments and really loved discovering new blogs.  I even found one that I decided to participate in a contest at: SewHappyGeek-Play!

On to the drawing!

After removing duplicate comments, multiple entries, or the ones folks removed, I was left with 119 comments. We decided the best route for my dear boy to be able to pick a number was to narrow the entries down.  I did that with the help of the random number generator.

We had 12 numbers that I wrote on little pieces of paper and put them in our TARDIS hat.

He then had fun drawing a number out of the hat.  I had him draw two numbers, just in case the fist one was a no reply comment with no email.  So, he ran to put on his jammies while I checked the comments.

UGH!  BOTH were no replies with no emails!  SO we had to pick a 3rd number!
he's pretty tired, so it's pretty blurry...

Number... 25!

the owl lamp was my grandma's, it rocks!
Congratulations Jill, thatmoxiegirl of MadeWithMoxie!  You're the winner of some fantastic owl coasters!  I hope you like them!  I'll be emailing you shortly!

Remember, I will be posting my little tutorial on making these fantastic coasters soon.