Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year - The End of our Tree Project

One of my favorite projects this year - and also for our family and to anyone how visits our house - has been our tree. Unfortunately just before Christmas due to the strength and persistence of our #3 bunny our Christmas tree had a nasty accident.

We only lost two ornaments and the stick snapped in several places. No small child was harmed in the accident - but we all felt a little sad.

We had all been stuck inside due to snow falling outside when the incident happened. Feeling a little sad we decided to rescue what we could of the now year long project. My eldest bunny really loves to use scissors so her paper snowflakes made a perfect decoration. The vase and branch is now on the kitchen counter - I don't put it past #3 to make it up there and demolish it some more - but so far it has stayed out of his reach.

Here is a little recap of our tree.

Wish you and your family a wonderful 2014 & thank you so much for reading.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas Tree

It seems like our Thanksgiving Tree was assembled and disassembled in record time. Christmas is here and I feel like I haven't drawn a breath - at least not a big enough one to relax in anyway.

This year I have been pondering what to do about a Christmas tree as our youngest bunny is now 15 months - extremely determined, extremely strong and extremely inquisitive. I just have visions of us turning our back for one second and the little chap attempting to scale the tree bring the whole ornament laden thing down on top of him.

So with our branch sitting empty waiting for inspiration we decided this year our branch will be our Christmas Tree.

I wrapped the branch in fairy lights & some berry garlands that I have had for years (they are a little past their prime - poor things.) I wanted to let my eldest loose on decorating the tree - but I had not taken into account how heavy Christmas decorations are. So we had to sort through our stash for all the lightest items - then I let her loose ....

My husband loves real Christmas Tree's - he loves the smell that they fill the house with - but I can't help feeling a little pleased that our beloved branch has saved one little Christmas Tree this year ....... 

Wishing you and your family a very Happy Holiday this year.

Take a look at the other projects we have done with our tree so far this year:
Valentine Tree
Swedish Easter Tree
Recycled Cherry Blossom Tree
Coffee Filter Butterfly Tree 
Halloween Tree
Thanksgiving Tree

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

WIP: Kids Painted Quilt - 'Watercolor' Circles

When Asia from Fun at Home with Kids sent me a picture of this quilt I felt it was something we would enjoy making at home. In my obsession with recycling fabric we have used a clean twin white cotton sheet as our material. I lay down a strange (but effective) plastic Hawiian plastic table cloth on the floor to protect our home from being permanently dyed from our experiment. As it was just my eldest bunny (4) doing this project I decided to try some fabric paints rather than our usual biocolor with fabric medium.

For our colors I used Jacquard Textile Traditional Exciter Pack. I added about 2tlbsps of water to each squidge of color - I also mixed some colors - so there was a whole array of cups for my little one to pour.

Pouring neat circles onto dry fabric was problematic. 

We tried a paint brush to make the shapes. 

Would spooning the paint on work better?

Spoons didn't help. The fabric needed to be damp to enable to paint to spread in an easy fashion. Out came our favorite spray bottles.  My little one happily sprayed water all over the place.

We found the easiest way to make nice circles (and bear in mind this is a four year old) was to pour a little of the dye on the sheet and then use the base of the cup to spread the paint into a neat circle.

If you haven't seen it - here is the designer version and our still wet version beside it. I'm actually really looking forward to quilting this - I think it will be a fun project to quilt.


Our other kid painted fabric projects have included:

Monday, December 9, 2013

Children's I SPY QUILTs Auction & Giveaway

I have finished all three I Spy Quilts. Two of them are now up for auction. The smaller one will be a giveaway. (Please note this giveaway is for shipping within the US only.)

Each quilt comes with a list of lots of fun things you can try and spot in the quilts. My children are totally enchanted with these quilts. I will post more about how I quilted them again soon.

All funds from the auctions will be donated to 'Quilting A Memory'. This is a charitable organization that provides free quilting services to the families of fallen service men & women - using their clothes/uniforms to make beautiful & detailed quilts that can be treasured for ever. Materials for a Queen sized quilt typically come to approximately $130. It would be wonderful to raise something around this amount by selling these two quilts.

Please bid on the quilts - these links will take you to their listings on eBay. Auctions & Giveaway will end Sunday December 15th and I will mail the quilts on Monday 16th.

I SPY Quilt - Red Border & blue binding
Measures 47.5"w x 54"h
165 squares of different fabric with hundreds of items to spot. 
Click for eBay Listing is here.

I SPY Quilt - Pink border & binding
Measures 46"w x 53"h
168 squares of different fabric with hundreds of items to spot. 
Click for eBay Listing is here.

I SPY Quilt - Green border & orange binding
Measures 46"w x 46"h
144 squares of different fabric with hundreds of items to spot. 
To win this giveaway quilt (green border with orange binding) please leave a comment on the blog below - ensure you leave a way that I can contact you - e-mail, blog or website. 

Practically all the materials for these quilts was donated. I would again like to deeply thank all those who contributed to these super cute & fun quilts:
Anita, MD
Mary-Etta, MD
Candice, OH
Anne from Bunny Hill Designs
Cathy from Blueberry Patch 
Corey from Little Miss Shabby
Pat, MD
Mike from The Amateur Quilter
Angela from Sewing with Squeak
Toni from Hoosier Toni 
Elke, ME
Leanne, NY
Chris Lang, OH

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Memory Quilt: Wedding Memories

Five years ago a loving Sister and Bridesmaid made a plan - she would get each guest at the wedding to decorate a square of cotton with messages of love. These cotton squares would then be made into a Memory Quilt for the Bride and Groom. Five years later the squares had been decorated but the quilt had not been made. Recently her sister unfortunately got the news that she would have to have a double mastectomy - and she wanted to get the quilt completed to provide love and comfort to her sister after the operation.

I was honored to be asked to help complete this quilt. In my previous post I mentioned the 70+ Fancy Fandango's I had been toiling away on (see above). They were for this quilt. Each corner has a gold Fancy Fandango placed on it. I like that they add some texture to the quilt which would otherwise be perhaps a bit blocky.
You can clearly see the flower pattern I quilted all over. This flower design is an adapted from a design that Angela Walters showed me on her Craftsy lesson.

In the central panel there is a Celtic Blessing - it is quilted with hearts - it reads:

"I wish you not a path devoid of clouds,
Nor a life on a bed or roses,
not that you might never need regret,
nor that you should never feel pain.
No, that is not my wish for you. ...

... My wish for you is:
That you might be brave in times of trial,
when others lay crosses upon your shoulders.
When mountains must be climbed,
and chasms are to be crossed,
When hope can scarce shine through.
That your gift God gave you
Might grow along with you
and let you give the gift of joy
to all who care for you. ....


... That you may always have a friend
who is worth that name.
Whom you can trust, and who helps
you in times of sadness.
Who will defy the storms
of daily life at your side. ...

... One more wish I have for you
that in every hour of joy and pain
you may feel God close to you.
This is my wish for you
and all who care for you.
This is my hope for you,
Now and forever."

At the base of the central panel I added some metallic free motion quilting to the Celtic Cross. I also added more Fancy Fandango's and some ribbon that had been kept all that time from the bridal shower. I wanted to make something that looked somewhat bridal bouquet like. The border around the blessing was made my doing a satin stitch over a piece of yarn. It made a very neat and nicely raised ridge for the border.

The label for the quilt is made from a decorated square too. I love this square. 

Here it is all folded up and wrapped in another ribbon from the bridal shower - ready to go to provide love, memories and comfort. 

Technical Info:
Batting: Quilters Dream Wool Batting 100% Wool
Backing Fabric: 110" Wide Quilt Backing Daisy Cream
Top: Client provided decorated cream & brown squares, Quilting Treasures Autumn Speckle Blender Pumpkin, Celebration Outline Rose Metallic Cream, Joy of Life Metallic Gold
Binding: Quilting Treasures Autumn Speckle Blender Pumpkin 
Ribbon: provided by client

Quilting Thread (Top & Bobbin): Sulky® Clear Premier Invisible Thread & Gutermann Decor Metallic Yellow Gold

Monday, December 2, 2013

Doing the Fancy Fandango with Jennie Rayment

I think I have mentioned before that my Grandmother was a keen patchworker and knitter. We sadly never got a chance to share the passion together. I also have some UK patchwork royalty in my family too - the wonderful Jennie Rayment. Jennie has been my step-mum for a long long time - although I have none of her actual sewing genius genes - she is a great inspiration to me. Jennie's work is quite incredible and she was able to stop and stay with us in between teaching & Houston. She was kind enough to give my church quilting group a private talk. It was so much fun, witty and so inspirational to us all.

A lot of Jennie's creations are made from manipulating and folding fabric (think origami for fabric fans.) You can see the vast array of quilts she showed us due to the massive pile on the floor. I don't know how she drags everything around the world with her - she is much fitter than I.

One of the things that Jennie showed me was a box made out of what she calls Fancy Fandango's (you can get the pattern of a Fancy Fandango on this DVD). During Jennie's stay I was in the planning stage for a Memory quilt and these Fancy Fandago's really spoke to me.


So what did you do this Thanksgiving season? Because I made 70+ of these little guys ranging from 0.75"- 2" finished size!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Don't like it? Dye it.

My scrap bag runneth over. I don't want to throw anything away and yet I'm not happy with the majority of the materials & colors in there.

I recently watched Quilting & Dyeing Serendipity with Ana Buzzalino - a Quilting Arts Workshop which aired on PBS. After watching I could not wait to reach for a bottle of dye. Ana uses Procion Dyes to dye her work - I didn't have any to hand (yet!) so I reached for a bottle of Tulip Liquid Red dye that I had sitting in the back of my cupboard.

Procion Dyes are interesting as they only dye natural fibers. My bottle of Red Tulip Liquid dye is supposed to dye both natural and synthetic fabrics. I didn't know if this would affect the Sulky variegated rayon thread I had used to quilt little areas.

Time to put together something to experiment with. I literally threw some scraps together in a mad rush, cut into them and added some solid curves. Practised some free motion quilting.

Here is my piece before I dipped it into the red dye. I didn't like it when I jammed it together and I don't like it much better now - although the quilting certainly did add a little interest to it. I do however like how dyeing it makes all the colors blend much more. It evens out the color values/tone. I'm eager to take this experiment (the dyeing not the rushed random piecing!) to a larger piece.

The variegated thread did change a little but not too much - and who ever labeled the green fabric as cotton was telling very big porky pies indeed!

You can see my free motion quilting skills are coming along nicely.

I was so interested in Ana's workshop as it now gives me infinite possibilities when recycling clothes into quilts. I can't wait to see where this new technique takes me.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Memorial Quilt: T-shirts

This is not your typical t-shirt quilt.

If you have not had the pleasure with working with t-shirts before - they are much harder to quilt than you would imagine. The material is not conducive to any complex piecing, non bulky seams and free motion quilting. When I was given these t-shirts (from a family whose Grandmother had passed away) I wasn't sure what I would do with the huge array of colors - the t-shirts also vary in their 'stretch', weave/texture, sheen and thickness.

Quilting this quilt was a mammoth effort. I certainly enhanced my arm and shoulder muscles pushing it through Bernie.

The quilting pattern is feathers - into flowers - into leaves - into swirls and finally into curvy lines. I hope that the quilting brings some movement to an otherwise blocky design. This is the back of the quilt. This is the most complex quilting design I have taken on so far - and I do have to thank my Craftsy lesson with Angela Walters for the skills I have picked up here.

I followed the change in colors with the change of free motion quilting patterns. 

Even the binding is from a t-shirt.

After I had finished the quilt I washed the quilt on a hot wash and dried it on a hot wash too - this treatment helps the t-shirts helps to 'settle in' some what to the way I have been asking them to comply.

I'm looking forward to seeing how far I can take quilting t-shirts in the future!

Technical Info:
Batting: Quilters Dream Wool Batting 100% Wool
Backing Fabric: 110" Wide Quilt Backing Butterfly White
Top: Client provided  t-shirts
Binding: Clients provided t-shirts
Quilting Thread (Top & Bobbin): Sulky® Clear Premier Invisible Thread