If you have been following along with my instagram account, you probably already know that I have been teaching myself to crochet. Which is pretty wild since I have had little to no desire to ever learn how to crochet until just recently. When you begin, you really need a way to keep track of how many stitches (or knots) you have made at any given step, so you use something call stitch markers. Commercial stitch markers are basically plastic safety pins. Perfectly usable, but boring. So I wanted to make some that were pretty and functional!
We have a small plastic bin that is filled with random jewelry making supplies. Just stuff that has collected over the years. The kids are allowed to dig in there and makes cool stuff. Or weird stuff, whichever they like. I fished around in there and found some companionless earrings and other broken jewelry that I thought would work nicely as stitch markers. Something that would stand out next to my yarn project and something that I thought was pretty.
All you need for this project is:
Jump rings (small metal circles that are unconnected)
Lobster clasps (mind are medium sized)
Charms (which are my jewelry bits)
Jewelry Pliers (though we also used my Leatherman (multi tool)
The first thing I did was liberate the jewelry from their original settings. So I took them off the earrings or parted them from the jewelry that they were attached to. In general, once you play with the jump rings a lot, they can get weak and will be prone to breaking in the future, so just reuse with caution. The higher quality stuff will last longer and through multiple uses.
Overall, I am very pleased with this up cycle! I have been using the markers with all my projects and this was a fast and cheap way to make something useful!
A couple of weeks ago, the fabric panel below landed on my desk. I have been coordinating a giveaway at work and since my customers have an ongoing love affair with panels, this one was up for grabs. To be completely honest, I don't totally get "panels". I don't generally like their subject matter or the sentiments given, but I knew there had to be something about them, because I had met so many quilter's who love them. So when this one didn't make it into the giveaway I knew I had a chance to play around with it!
This particular panel can be broken up into eight patches, which is why I kinda liked it, plus the typewriter is super cute. And since my parents just purchased a new home, I knew that I wanted to make my mom something as a house warming gift.
My mom is big on hosting gatherings and dinners. As the matriarch of a family with over 45 people, she makes a lot of food. So I decided to use the panel to make a couple of extra large hoy pads.
Obviously the first thing I did was match up some fabrics. I didn't want to make a run to the fabric store, so I had a limited array of options. I played around with a couple of different color options. Luckily the fabric panel is pretty basic, so it was easy to play with the contrasting colors. And since I had recently visited my mom, I knew what colors would look better in her kitchen!
Once I settled on the coordinating fabrics and located all my supplies. I took the time to cut and trim each one of the patches.
I went ahead and added a simple 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inch border around each patch. Nothing too fancy, as the patch is suppose to be the part that pops.
I didn't know exactly how to "quilt" the layers together, so I opted to stack and flip inside out instead. That basically means that I stacked in this order, cotton batting, Insulbright, pretty sided facing up, back side "kissing" or facing down, all together. Sewed all around the edges, leaving a 2 inch gap, trimmed the corners and turned inside out. I also sewed a tab into it for hanging up if that is how my Mom wanted to store these. I tried topstitching really close to the edge of the project, but the batting was too bulky and my machine hated it. So I ended up whip stitching the opening closed by hand and then adding some decorative stitching around the actual patch to keep the whole thing together. I also did some stitching in the ditch just to add some strength to the whole thing.
Of course my Mom loved them!
You can purchase the panel HERE! It's a pretty cute one!
Just a couple of tips, read the directions on the insulbright before you sew with it. I would have really messed these up if I hadn't taken the time to read all the directions first! I did was the panel before I started to sew with it, which I recommend because I expect these to get a lot of use and they will be washed.
Getting enough blue scraps together this month was super easy! I haven't finished the second block yet, just this one that has scraps that came from a work colleague. These are all Northcott fabrics and are a dream to work with. Thanks Emily!
I got messed up the piecing of one HST unit and that is why one joint is wonky, but I am over the moon about the rest of it! I think it turned out great. This was a new-to-me technique and I really enjoyed putting these together!
On a another note! I finally finished my muslin for one of my upcoming #sewforme projects. This is a free pattern from Peppermint Magazine and it has been popping up all over. I used an old sheet to make sure the fit was good and I kinda like it! I didn't do any of the finishing steps, so if I wanted to wear it, I would need to go back and clean it up. But it's pretty pretty.
One of my sewing goals this year is to stretch my block/pattern skills. So I stumbled across a once a month block challenge on Patterns by Jen. Each month, using a specific color, you are suppose to make a block or two for the challenge. A new block is provided if needed, but you can choose to do any block you want.
Because I have a ridiculous amount of scraps, I also decided to box myself in even further, by only using scrap fabric for this challenge. Right up front, I knew there was trouble. I don't sew with a lot of red fabrics, so for these blocks, I didn't have a lot to choose from...
But I had made the goal, so I stuck to it! Because I chose to make the six inch blocks, I knew that I needed to make two for each month, so that I could have a sizable finished project. \
I separated the colors into light and dark piles and then tried to coordinate them with the block pattern. Which was harder than it looks. I think my favorite part is the tiny rockets (Sarah Jane) that is in middle of the block on the right. It just seems so random with all the blender fabrics.
I am no quilting expert, nor would I call myself good at quilting. As you can see, my blocks are kinda a hot mess!!! Which has had me chuckling for days! My flying geese are hilarious, which was the point of this whole thing, getting better at piecing. So let's just say I still need lots of practice!
I'm not sure if I wasn't careful when I measured the little pieces out, or if my scant 1/4 seam allowance wasn't scant enough. (said as she shrugs her shoulders) Maybe I was distracted when I was sewing? (mother of four children)
Don't worry, I'm gonna keep the blocks. Their all mine and even though the blocks don't come close to perfect, they are going to get used. Imperfect sewing is the best kind, because I am human!
So, I got confirmation that we can visit the White House on our upcoming family vacation. We didn't vote for the current president, but we really wanted to hang out at his house. It's a self guided tour, but the really cool part is that as you walk around there are secret service people all over and guess what? You are suppose to up to them and ask them about the historical relevance of where they are standing. That sounds completely hilarious and intimidating all at the same time!! The rest of the trip isn't fully planned because going to visit the White House was a top priority and you only find out if you are allowed a couple of week before the actual visit time. But now that I know (we also went through the reservation process for the Capital Building and got tickets for there as well!), I will be planning like a crazy person.
I am also hoping to squeeze a visit to Williamsburg in as well on this trip. I think the kids will love it and I remember thinking it was really cool and smart and stuff. The kids want to visit the National Gallery and any other cool place they saw on National Treasure. Plus the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, because there is such a beautiful unspoken reverence there that I want my children to participate in. Any other cool places you love in D.C? or maybe a sweet cool restaurant? Please comment with you recommendations!
Sometime over the summer, I was looking at the stack of ruined jeans that had accumulated in my sewing stash. I'm not sure exactly why I was keeping them or what I was going to do with them, once the space provided had been used up, but there they were, taking up space. I am not a huge fan of jean quilts. The weight of a jean quilt is top heavy and not very warm, rendering the quilt to the back of the closet until the dead middle of winter. However, jean quilts are a quilting/blanket making benchmark and who am I to judge the decades of jean quilt making. The following quilt is my take on this timeless endeavor of cutting up one's own pants and giving them new life.
I clearly didn't go down the standard patchwork squares route. I have see too much of that. Also, if I had decided to go down that route, I would have had to wait a really long time to make this quilt, as I would have needed twice as many pairs of pants. This quilt is built on half square triangles, sewn together to give the overall effect of a diamond or zig-zag look. Most of the coordinating fabric is from my vintage or up-cycled stash, with just a few contemporary pieces placed throughout.
Jeep was my photo assistant. Because I used a combination of cotton and jean fabric, the quilt isn't as heavy as a traditional jean quilt. This will give it more user friendly access and if I put flannel on the back, that should help it with the staying warm issue.
(The backlight view is kinda pretty, isn't it?) The quilt came together nicely and now I am trying to decide how to quilt it. Tie it? Hand quilt using thick thread and big stitches or have it machine quilted? Any suggestions? The jean fabric can be a beast to work with, but I don't really like the tie look. Plus, I want the quilt to be durable and washable, so I will probably have it machine quilted at my local quilt shop.
This quilt is title #1, because I have set a goal to get six quilts made before the New Year. So we will see how it all goes!
This kid turned 6 last week, and like all mom's whose youngest is no longer a baby, I am both happy and sad by this development. Of all my children, I feel like J's childhood has gone too fast. I didn't get enough cuddle time, book reading time and swing under the trees time. Part of that is because He grew up in the back of our car, being the youngest of four, most of his childhood was spent watching his siblings being driven somewhere. But is true for all youngest children! Of all the suggestions about what he wanted to do for his birthday, because, believe me, there were many, taking the family to a TinCaps games was the best option. Plus we could do it on his actual birthday day and the game had fireworks! TinCaps have the best fireworks!
We are huge TinCaps fans, not because we love baseball, because we don't! But because we love everything else. So there are the fireworks, which are amazing, but the venue is clean, open and inviting, Parkview Field goes out of its way to be as family friendly as possible, the food is good and the cost is downright affordable. Best of all, there isn't a bad seat in the house. You can see the sweat dripping off the players faces, which is gross, but that is how close you get to the action. The two times we saw the Reds play, I could only see the red blurs of the players and the seats cost eight times as much.
Plus the players are really engaged with the fans, which is why J has a baseball in his hand... the second baseman brought it over to J at the end of the third inning. The ball had been in played and caught by him for the last out. As he was heading to dugout, he offered it to our birthday boy. Made the evening a complete success, though the eighth inning ice cream helped out too...
Monday- Cold cut sandwiches and soup
Tuesday- Shrimp fried rice found here.
Wednesday- Real Mac and cheese with real bacon on half and turkey on the other half (still have the exchange student!)
Thursday- Rice bowls with Teriyaki chicken
Friday- aluminum camping packets with fish
Saturday- Homemade Pizza
Sunday- Beef stir-fry
This quilt has been a thorn in my side for what feels like FOREVER. I try to make the kids a quilt for their seventh birthday, but this one might be finished by this boy's ninth.... sometimes things just go that way! To be far, we moved twice while I was making this quilt and both places ended up with little to no sewing space. So I have to be creative or we just end up not using our kitchen table for three weeks. The quilt top was finished for a good while, but I wasn't really thrilled about quilting it myself. I am a really bad machine quilter, so the thought of doing this was pure torture! Finally I decided to have it professionally quilted... AMAZING! Why haven't I done this before. The results were gorgeous and it wasn't that expensive. Plus I got to work with an amazing quilter who did exactly what I wanted!!!
The quilting pattern is called pick up sticks and it is a bright orange on top and a light gray for the back of the quilt. It looks great and best of all... no puckers! It took her only a couple of days on her super awesome quilting arm. I have two other quilts in the works and anything bigger than a baby quilt is going to her! Okay, the baby quilts are going to her as well. I just don't have the inclination to do it myself.
All this quilt needs is binding. Which I hope to attach this weekend! Should I wrap this qift or just put it on his bed and see if he notices?
I spent some time today looking over my first blog and copying the entries into a word document. This of course sent me down memory lane and there is some great stuff there. Which is why I keep this blog going, because as parents we really do forget a lot of the best things. One of my frequent posts was called Some Days and the posts were mostly random pictures of the funny things I had found that day. These posts made me laugh out loud, all the little things that my brain had moved to long-term storage. I am so very thankful I took the time to post these on my cute little family blog. Of course, I realized that since moving to Bluffton and living in an internet dead spot has put a damper on my ability to spontaneously add things to my blog, which means that Jeep is seriously under represented here. I sure that will be something for him to tell his therapist...