Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A Cushion Cover and a Giveaway Winner Announcement

A couple of weeks ago, my MIL wanted me to help her go through some of her old sewing stuff. She ended up giving me lots of it, which I'll share later, but in one of the boxes, I found this canvas seed bag that I thought would make a good, quick pillow cover project.  She has been such a collector of so many cool things.

This seed bag though, seemed especially made for this dingy, round fur pillow whose cover doesn't come off to wash, but my son won't let me get rid of b/c he's attached to it. (I fear that I have a 7 year old hoarder-ha!)

This is the bag, it was a pretty big one.  I love that the seed company/bag is from our hometown.

It was the perfect size to wrap around this pillow! Like it was meant to be.

So I just cut out the front of the bag, and sewed a couple of burlap strips on each side.. (you can get burlap in the remnant section sometimes at JoAnn for really really cheap!)

Then I used another remnant for the ends and sewed up the final seam.  I didn't take pics of that process, but here's the end.  I used some ribbon scraps from my MIL's stuff and bam! A pillow cover.  For less than $5.  And it has special meaning, b/c it's made from some of my MIL's saved and collected items.


She's not doing well at all. The pancreatic cancer is quickly stealing her away from us.  Please keep praying for her and the family.  I really appreciate it! She will always be in our hearts no matter what, but it also gives me comfort to know that we will have little reminders dotted around our house.

In other news, Congrats to Lori, who is the winner of the giveaway for the layer cake of Moonlight Manor from the Fat Quarter Shop..which I was supposed to pick on October 1st, but had to put off due to present circumstances.  Thanks to everyone who stopped by and entered!  I'll be emailing you Lori!
Hug your loved ones extra tight.
Happy Tuesday. xo

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Drunken Chevron Quilt/Tutorial & a Giveaway!

 When I heard from Daniar at the Fat Quarter Shop asking if I'd like to take their challenge to make something I've never tried before for National Sewing and Quilting Month, I knew immediately what I wanted to make. 

A Drunkard's Path Quilt. I'd had this design floating in my head for some time, but just didn't know if I had it in me to tackle curved seams at this point in my life.  

You see, my MIL has recently been diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer (if you're a praying friend, please pray for her peace and comfort), and it's all been happening so fast.  Less than two months from her initial appointment to being home on hospice..it's been devastatingly sad and still is if I'm being honest.. I wasn't even sure if I would finish this, but I managed it.. just in the nick of time.  It ended up being the perfect stress relief. Sitting and listening to the machine hum while processing this new reality.

So about a month ago, when Daniar asked what I'd like my personalized banner to say, I told her this:

Little did I know how true this would turn out to be.  Sewing up "Drunken Chevron" turned out to be great therapy for me.  The technique is so easy.  And NO curved seams!!!  And did I mention NO CURVED SEAMS? ;)

I figured out a way to make it work for me. Perfect for when you just want to sit at the machine, listening to it zoom along and give your brain a break from stress. Which we've been experiencing in abundance lately. But enough about that for now..let me tell you how I made this without a curved seam in sight.

I used lots of Notting Hill fabrics, plus some other prints from my stash. (these colors make me happy! well..as happy as I can be right now anyway..) You will need (39) 10" squares (layer cake friendly), and approx. 1 1/4 yd. of the chevron fabric.  Make sure it has plenty of contrast.  I found that out the hard way the first time! Take three of the 10" squares and quarter them into 5" squares, and set them aside for assembly of the quilt top.

Here are the tools I used:

Yep, that's a 6 3/4" dessert plate, a frixion pen, and a glue stick. :) I didn't have any templates so just made do with what I had on hand.  First, I traced and cut out (36) circles.

Then, to place them, I marked the centers of both the circle and the 10" square by first folding the circle in half..

..then in half again..

..then marking each side of the point with the frixion pen..

..and then repeating with the 10" square.  Make sure to fold and mark the circle with the wrong side out, and the square with the right side out.

Unfold them, and run the glue stick around the edge of the circle..

..and then match the "v" marks and smooth it into place, right sides up. If a wrinkle gets in there, just pull it up and smooth it back out.

..and then applique into place (I used a zigzag stitch)..

..iron flat (frixion marks disappear!), and then pull the two layers of the circle apart up to the seam, separating the glued layers.

Make a snip in the back layer only, about a quarter inch from the stitching, making sure that you are only catching the back layer, and then cut out the back layer of the circle.

(You will have an array of colorful circles left at the end of this project for another project.) :)

When all (36) 10" squares are appliqued and trimmed, quarter them into 5" squares. (the block may be slightly less than 10" after applique, but if that's the case, don't worry, it shouldn't be too far off and will all work out.)

Mix and match the 5" (cheater) Drunkard's Path blocks and sew together into blocks like this (make 30):

Using two plain 5" squares that were set aside earlier, and six of the above blocks, sew together into five rows like this with the two plain squares at the bottom. (The direction of these rows will alternate in the final layout.)

Then make the left edge row and the right edge row like so:

                 -L-      -R-

Final layout:

It was a lot of fun to sew up, and it's super forgiving, b/c if your circles aren't exactly scientifically in the center, it's okay.  There are no points to match really, they are drunken chevrons after all. ;) No templates, no brain-exploding math.. no complicated tools. Just a dessert plate, a glue stick and a zigzag stitch.  Priceless therapy.

OH, and the FQS also had a list of questions that they wanted us to include and a free pattern link for you, so here goes:

1. How did you start quilting/sewing?

My grandmothers quilted, but my mom taught me to sew when I was younger.  She used to sew clothes. Then I took a sewing class in high school.

2. When was the first time you knew that you were a quilter/sewer?

When I made a skirt and a lined jacket in high school--quilting came later.

3. Do you have any sewing/quilting horror stories/faux pas?

Too many to list. :) My worst quilting story is my run-in with the rotary cutter and a huge gash in my finger. :/

4. What advice to you have for someone who is just starting out sewing/quilting?

Make what you love and never give up!

Thanks to the Fat Quarter Shop for including me!! If you'd like, head over and check out their Color of my Heart free pattern sheet.

Also, they have very generously offered to give one of my readers a layer cake of Moonlight Manor:

Just leave me a comment to be entered. **Giveaway Closed**  I will pick the winner on October 1st. :)

Happy Fall!!!!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Tiny Blocks!!

Hello! Is anyone there? It's been forever since I've blogged!  The last half of our summer seemed to drop several things on us at once.  (More on that later..)  I've still been trying to get in some sewing time, though.  It's been great therapy actually for these trying few weeks.  When so many heavy things are on my heart and mind, it feels good to just sit and listen to the hum of the machine.  So out of it all, has come this quilt project. 

It's going to be epic for me, b/c I'm not a matchy points type of person, so it's great practice. The 4" blocks are also the smallest I've ever made. And surprisingly addictive and cute. 

I've been having lots of fun making them, and could not be doing all of the HSTs without my trusty Triangles on a Roll

And chain piecing. I love to chain piece.

It's going to be all Oval Elements. The happiest dot fabric ever. :) I need lots of colorful happiness right now.

OH!  And I just realized I forgot to blog about this. A few weeks ago, my MIL gifted me with the most special treasure.

It's an antique, cast iron toy Singer.  With its original clamp that clamped it to a table.  She played with it as a girl, and her mother played with it as a girl. And she told me that when she was little, she remembers her granny borrowing it back sometimes b/c it makes a pretty chain stitch underneath since there is no bobbin.

I would love it regardless, but the fact that my MIL, and her mother both played with it as children is the coolest thing ever.  We were able to research online a little bit, and from the number of spokes in the hand crank, it has to have been made between 1916 and 1922.  So the fact that my hub's great grandmother bought it new for his grandmother when she was a little girl kind of blows my mind. :)

In other news.. someone started second grade!  I can't believe it! And he lost one of his top front teeth.  So that's it.. he's officially a big boy. So bittersweet. :/  I just love him.

And there he went, out into the wide world.

OH, and something very exciting on the horizon.. be sure to check out the Nov/Dec of GenQ Magazine. You may or may not see this project in there.  I couldn't show you or blog about it for sooo long, but it's coming soon. 

I had more to blog about but .. no words right now.  Someday, I'm sure the experiences of the last few weeks (what I now jokingly but not really refer to as "the flock of bean eating pigeons flying directly over our heads for the last half of summer") will pour out onto the page, but right now, I need to just say a prayer and go sew, as I am prone to dissolving into tears at any given moment these days.

Hug your loved ones tight, cling to your faith, and sew on.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014


I am currently sitting in the airport in KC waiting to fly home. After a two week vacation in which my side of the family all met at a lake house in the Ozark Mountains. We spent a week there, although we've been gone for two weeks.  A few days before and after were spent at my parents' house.

It's been a wonderful, weird, and slightly devastating vacation. All at once. 

The house was so perfect for nine people to share.  Lots of beds and rooms and a pool and a pool table in the basement, decks, patio furniture and a wonderful view!!

This is the back of the house.

This is the view out the back from the upper deck.  That is the pool down the hill on the right.  It was so isolated and relaxing!

My son went fishing with my hub and dad on this trip and caught his first fish.  Here he is with his grandpa on the front porch.

He literally just broke into tears when we kissed them goodbye at the curb a little while ago. :( He had so much fun this trip.  Family memories are the BEST. But I know he'll be excited to get home and play with his toys, see our dog, and visit his friends, too.  But we had such a good visit.  I wish we lived closer so he could see them all the time.

Saw some wildlife at the lake house too.  Lots of deer, with their babies.

Cardinals, and lots of other birds, including a random Road Runner that kept hanging around. ??

My favorite spot to watch the birds and the view.

Meep Meep!

And the squirrels were out of control! :) The thunderstorm didn't even deter them.  It was nice to see it pour one afternoon, as most of CA bursts into flames every summer, and we haven't seen actual rain for a really long time!

But while the trip was super fun and relaxing, it was kind of an emotional week.  I learned, the day that we flew out here, that there was a terrible bank robbery in my hometown.  In which three suspects who were heavily armed took three hostages and proceeded to drive around for an hour, on highways and down on the city streets while shooting at police. In the middle of the day.  Bullets flying into random houses, hitting cars on the streets, etc.  Gunfire struck police vehicles 14 times or something like that.  One of the hostages ended up being shot when one of the gunman used her as a human shield in his shootout with police, and she died.   She was around my age, her 12 year old daughter saw her being taken hostage.. just all kinds of awful. AND-I found out the next day that the woman who died.. was the receptionist at my dentist's office.  Misty.  Who I always loved visiting with when I go in for checkups.  I'm devastated for her family and for my dentist office.. they are like a family there.  She was one of the team.

So although I had a great time on vacation, I have also randomly felt like crying. (I actually did a few times) And while I'm anxious to get home, and pick up Buster from the kennel (the bullet flying police chase went right by his kennel, too) and resume daily life (and spend some QT with my sewing machine trying to process this tragic event), I kind of don't want to go back. Ever. :(  So sad.

Here she is in a photo that I borrowed from my dentist's facebook page. If you wouldn't mind.. please say a prayer for Misty's family, and for my town.

And hug your loved ones tight. :( Gotta get ready to board now.. hopefully next time I'll have a finished quilt top to show.  I just have to sew the borders onto one when I get home.  I've really missed my machine this last week. When I get sad or stressed, I turn to my sewing machine, my dog, shopping, or chocolate.  I may have overshopped and eaten a lot of chocolate after seeing my home town in the news all the way from the beautiful Ozark Mountains, for a tragedy that hit so close to home. Sniff. :(