Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Quick Quilting Tips

Despite all of our remodeling I've been working on all my overdue Christmas projects that were put on hold due to the Holiday Rush on Tumus and then my previous sewing machine biting the dust.

One of these projects is for my sister-in-law.
It's going to be a wall hanging of the American Flag that's been stylized.  The pattern is called "Stars & Bars" by Minick & Simpson. 
As I was getting my fabric cut out and stacked I thought I would point out few things that might help you on your next quilting project.

Tools you will always find useful while sewing:
- pen and paper
- camera or cellphone with camera
 - sharp scissors that are dedicated to fabric-only use
- a rotary cutter usually a 45mm or 60mm blade is best
- a self-healing cutting mat and a ruler as long as your mat
- seam ripper (definitely)
- small thread snips 
- an iron
- good lighting, a comfy seat
- the ability to make mistakes and be okay with starting over ^_^

1) Organization is very helpful when you've got alot of bits and pieces. 
Layout your color combinations and take a picture, this will help you remember which colors you like best together.

 Stars & Banners

2) Do label piles and write down your fabric combinations.
This is especially helpful when you have cut pieces that are only different by a mere inch.  Post-it notes are great for this!

Write out your combos and label

3) Don't be afraid to mark on your fabric.  
I would recommend either a pencil or a water soluble pen, but sometimes you can get away with using a ball-point pen.  Marking like this is especially helpful when you need to sew on a diagonal!

Mark it

or if you don't feel like marking and are comfortable with your sewing skills you can do this instead.
Using your top thread simply pull it from one point to the next and start sewing following your thread as you go.

Or you can mark it this way

These are just a few tips to help you out, but there are dozens of other tricks you can use.  If you have any quilting suggestions or tips that you know of feel free to post in the comments!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Dusty Times

Forgive my blogging absence in the last week or so.  We've been waterproofing our basement in hopes of getting it ready to build in.  And by waterproofing I mean drilling out cracks in the foundation, refilling them, digging down to the footer (aka the very bottom of the foundation wall) and making sure the drainage is adequate.

And all the while I've been trying to keep house, work on projects and orders, and generally not overexert myself.  I thought the 2nd trimester was supposed to include a burst of energy.  It probably didn't factor in the energy needed in keeping tabs on a few contractors, a husband and two cats though.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Biggest Reminder

The Biggest Reminder
I'm not one for American History.  It just doesn't do alot for me.  But visiting Boone Hall we saw the slave houses still standing.  It felt weird to be inside them.  It made "what was" feel more like just a few days ago.  Like all the oppression of history was just pushing on our shoulders reminding us where we've been and how much further we will always have to go.  It's a wonder the houses haven't crumbled or caved in like so many other historical "treasures".  Maybe they never will, maybe they will always be there.  Silently reminding us that some evils should never be forgotten.

It reminds me that despite all the romance we paint about how our country was founded life back then was much more raw and fleeting. It's all of history that makes me feel this.
I feel like we've forgotten something important.

To quote Coleridge on Wordsworth:
Mr. Wordsworth, on the other hand, was to propose to himself as his object, to give the charm of novelty to things of every day, and to excite a feeling analogous to the supernatural, by awakening the mind's attention from the lethargy of custom, and directing it to the loveliness and the wonders of the world before us; an inexhaustible treasure, but for which, in consequence of the film of familiarity and selfish solicitude we have eyes, yet see not, ears that hear not, and hearts that neither feel nor understand.”
He was talking about literature of course and a reader's willing suspension of disbelief, but I think we've willing removed ourselves from history in much the same way.  Now we have eyes, yet see not, ears that hear not, and hearts that neither feel nor understand.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Stalling For Good Reason

My back got tweaked terribly last week.  Tweaked to the point that I couldn't walk.  I've never hurt my back like that before so I literally spent all last weekend in my recliner icing my sore spot and lamenting over the ever gathering dust and laundry piles.  You know because missing 2 days of cleaning makes for a terribly messy house (not).

So for now sewing and garden planning are at a bit of a stand still.  I'm just glad I can finally move around enough to make myself feel human again.

I was hoping to show you some of the stars I'd pieced together for my sister-in-law's wall hanging and my bag mods for Craft for Hope's Project 16, but those will have to wait.

Till then pray for snow or dream of Spring!

Violet Violas

Saturday, February 11, 2012

While I'm Waiting

Daisies and Beebalm

This Winter has been overly mild.  Depressingly mild.  The hard freezes are few and far between and I've been fighting and arguing with my bulbs that it's nowhere near the time for them to pop up.
But that doesn't mean I don't miss the bright flush of color that accompanies Spring.
(makes a mental note to find more Beebalm for this year)

So while I'm waiting for Spring to officially arrive here's the new (unedited) garden planting list:

Sweet peas (not sure)
Kennebec Potatoes 2 lbs (mid)
Purple Viking Potatoes 2 lbs (early)
German Butterball 2lbs (late)
Ebeneezer onion set 1 pint
Elephant garlic 10 cloves
Crimson Red Rhubarb 1 root
Ruby Queen Beets seed tape
Roma tomatoes 3 plants
Black Krim heirloom tomato 3 plants
Heirloom Rainbow Blend tomatoes 3 plants
Mini Bell Peppers 3 plants (miracle of a find)
Zucchini 1 plant


Must Have's
Pea trellis (maybe)
Cat repel spikey mats (for the neighborhood cats who insist on poo-ing where they shouldn't)

You might wonder where on earth I plan on putting SO MANY vegetables this year.  Well I don't know, but I plan on splitting alot of the plants with my mom for her small garden. I'm also growing some tomatoes for my older neighbor who can't garden anymore and then I'm going to try my hand at canning this year.  You'll also notice that the usual suspects such as green beans, corn and cucumbers did not make the cut this year.  

Here's why, over the years I've discovered I don't have enough room to plant enough corn to pollinate them efficiently. 2 smalls rows will not delicious corn make even if I self-pollinate them.  While I love fresh green beans we always have an over abundance that never gets eaten and it feels wasteful.  The cucumbers need more space, or at least vertical space, that I haven't figured out how to accommodate well and I got so annoyed with the lack of pollination and wilt that I'm taking a break from them this year.
In other words it's a "farmer's market" year for those veggies.

I'm hoping that by adding a lavender plant beside my russian sage that it will encourage more bees to visit.  More fluers = more bees = more vegetables.  

A good garden takes time, effort and mistakes, but most importantly perseverance.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

What's on the board

I had alot going on last week so it's nice to get back into a normal crafting ebb and flow.

Kooper & Duncan

Sarah contacted me mid-season last year wanting 3 ornaments for her pups.  She has two sweet and hard working Siberian Huskies (Kooper and Khole Ann) and one Kookerhondje (Duncan).  Kookerhondje's are in a word beautifully awesome.  I've never come across this breed to date so it's rarity is pretty cool.

Duncan final

But I think this might be a new favorite breed for me.  Just LOOK at those puppy pictures!

I've also been busy sketching out ornament kits for this year and attempting some bag designs for Craft for Hope's newest project though I don't have any pictures of my attempts just yet.  I've discovered that I need to really refine my sewing skills.  I've gotten a bit rusty.

Monday, February 6, 2012



These little guys are really making me happy every time I walk outside.  I could've swore I had some purple and white ones mixed in there as well but so far only the yellow ones have popped up.  But I don't mind because yellow is such a cheery color.  Even with an incredibly mild winter (ie Spring like weather) I'm still excited for planting season to start.  It's almost a tease how warm it's been.  Makes me want to put out pansies already.
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