craft, quilt, quilting, quilts, Uncategorized

New Ironing Board (kinda)

About a year ago I replaced my ironing board. I wanted one that was wider and had a place to rest my iron. I searched a bit and found one. Unfortunately, I didn’t read the fine print about this particular ironing board – maybe I didn’t read at all?  – it was made from an eco-friendly material.

Now I’m all for eco-friendly products. Really, I am. However, after a year of heavy use the ironing board started to warp and it was wreaking havoc on my work. I’m definitely one to stress the importance of pressing your work and mine looked like I didn’t even own an iron! Not good.

warped

I was frustrated and feeling lazy. I didn’t really want to buy a new ironing board since mine was, theoretically, new and as much as I love Amazon Prime I didn’t want to wait a day OR go to Target to get one because I’d walk out with an entirely new wardrobe, home accessories and decor, and a crate full of paper products. I was, however, up for making my own. I mean, if I can’t buy what I want I should make it, right? Exactly! Besides, a bigger board would definitely come in handy. Go big or go home.

I looked around my sewing room and found batting, fabric, and some Insul Fleece that C&T sent me. The factor limiting me the most in this build was the size of the Insul Fleece. It’s 27″ x 45″. I can get more but then I’d have another delay, so that was out. Keeping that in mind, I headed to my local home improvement store and bought a board.  I found a 2′ x 4′ piece of composite lumber that would be perfect. I knew I’d have to piece the Insul Fleece, but for a whopping $4.32 I knew I could boost the crafty and make it work.

So I loaded up the car and headed home.

materials

I grabbed my staple gun and some staples and got to work. I wrapped a double layer batting around the board first, making sure to pull it taut and miter the corners.

wrapped

If you pull the corner of the batting into a triangle over the corner of the wood you can miter the pieces when you staple up the sides.

back stapled

stapled

I cut the Insul Fleece into 2 pieces by cutting 3″ off the width, making the first piece 24″ x 45″. I wrapped the Insul Fleece over the batting and tacked it down. I did the same thing with the smaller 3″ x 45″ piece at the end. I tugged a little on all sides and managed to make it fit (forgetting to take photos, too).

Once I had the batting and Insul Fleece stapled onto my board I covered it with some Moda Ash. I contemplated a more exciting fabric but I had enough of this on hand, it matches my decor and it’s easy to see stains and messes (not that that EVER happens) and I don’t have to worry about ruining a favorite piece of fabric.

voila

This picture doesn’t quite do it justice, and sorry for the VERY messy, thread covered design wall, but this board is incredible! It’s super wide and the Insul Fleece is my new favorite thing EVER! It works so well for an ironing board. I hate to say it but I was kind of amazed in the most wonderful way. Yay for perfect piecing and pressing and inexpensive, creative solutions.

 

craft, holiday

Handprint Christmas Tree Skirt

under the tree

I was so excited when this bundle of awesomeness arrived from Michael Miller Fabrics a few weeks ago, and couldn’t wait to get started on my tree skirt.

fabric is here

What you’ll need:

9 fat quarters
4 – 1/2 yard pieces for yo-yo’s and handprint borders
buttons – approximately 80
1/2 yard solid fabric
1/2 yard for binding
1 2/3 yard for back plus an 11″ x 60″ strip of fabric
3/4 yard of ric-rac or ribbon (cut into 9″ pieces)
acrylic paint to match
something round to cut yo-yo’s
marking pen
tape measure
basic sewing supplies – sewing machine, scissors, thread, pin

I started by making my yo-yo’s. Trace circles on your fabric and cut them out. I used a 4 1/2″diameter circle for my yo-yo’s, and you’ll need to make 80.  I have a set of templates from Karen Kay Buckley’s Perfect Circles that made it very easy to trace, but any round object you have in your house will work. The number of yo-yo’s you need may change slightly if you use smaller or larger circles for your yo-yo’s.

circles 2

buttons and yoyos

Make your yo-yo’s, then sew a button in the middle. Any buttons that were too small were layered with another button. Put your yo-yo’s in a bag until the tree skirt is made.

yoyos

Determine fabric placement for the top of your tree skirt. I put the fat quarters on my floor and played with them until I was happy with how they looked. Once you know where you want your fabrics, cut the center block 18 1/2″ square. Sew three rows of three fat quarters, then sew the rows together. The two outer rows won’t match corners with your center block. That’s okay.

To make the bottom of your tree skirt, start by trimming the selvedge off one side of the 1 2/3 yard piece. Sew the 11″ strip to the 1 2/3 yard piece to make a 60″ x approximately 56″ square (can vary depending on WOF).

Place the bottom of the tree skirt to the floor with the right side DOWN. Use some masking tape to secure it, then place the top of the tree skirt over the bottom piece with the right side UP.

top and bottom

Find the center of the center block, and mark it. Once you have the center, measure 4 1/2″ from it in each direction, working your way around and making a circle. I used chalk, but a pencil works better.

middle

Measure 26″ from the center in every direction to make your outer circle.

outer circle

Once you have your circles measured, pin, pin, pin! It is important to pin like crazy so you don’t get any wave in the top or bottom pieces. Once you’ve pinned the circle, draw straight lines from the inner circle to the outer circle to make your opening. I played with it until I found angles and opening sizes that I liked. You can also grab an old tree skirt and use it as your pattern. Baste the pieces together with a scant 1/4″ seam.

baste

Once you’ve basted the top and bottom together, cut off the excess fabric.

cut

cut 2

I chose to attach my pieces with bias binding, but you can finish it any way you’d like: sew the pieces together, serge the edges, add a ruffle, add decorative trim – the possibilities are endless.

bind

Attach the binding, or finish the edges however you’d like, then sew on the yo-yo’s. Be sure to pull out any basting stitches that peek out.

tack it

Cut 6″ x 7″ rectangles from the solid fabric and cut 2″ strips of fabric to border the handprint blocks. Sew the border print to the solid block, then iron the border piece in half to the wrong side. I didn’t want a huge border, and if you iron the fabric back it’s easier to attach to the tree skirt.

squares2

Use ric rac or ribbon to secure the tree skirt together while it’s under your tree. I tacked a piece of ric rac three inches, and about halfway down, on each side of the tree skirt. Ideally you’d attach the ric rac before you bind or finish the edges, but I forgot, and since this is used once a year I decided it’s alright. I stitched in the ditch to make my error less noticeable.

ricrac1

Sew the blocks you’ll use for the handprints to the tree skirt.  I tacked them down in each corner and the middle of each side so I can re-position the blocks as the years pass. Once they are in place, put acrylic paint on little hands and make your mark. If your kids are really small, it may be easier (better, less messy) to work with paint before putting the handprint blocks on the tree skirt. You can leave some of the blocks blank and add a handprint each year. You could also add photos, or generally embellish however you’d like. Just have fun!

voila 2

Merry Christmas, y’all!

 

craft, holiday

DIY Glitter Christmas Trees

I didn’t decorate the house as much as I wanted last year. Once again, I blame the renovation, but now that’s over so I can go wild. Okay, just a little.

I wanted to make some more decorations but didn’t want to break the bank. Solution? Glittered Christmas Trees. I bought a few styrofoam cones, glitter, and spray glue at my local craft shop.

IMG_2246.JPG

I sprayed the cones with spray glue, and poured glitter over the cones. I found it helpful to spray the glue on one side of my craft area, and glitter on the other. I applied glitter over a plastic plate so I could re-use the excess. If you spray glue over the plate the glue will stick and you can’t re-use it.

I chose to keep my tree decorations simple. The balls on top were in a set of holiday balls at the local craft store. They have a wire on the bottom so I could stick my ribbon through the wire then insert the pieces into the top.

I put my trees on a plate and decorated the base with cedar, white pine, and fir springs.

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craft

Spray Paint, part 2

I’m currently spray painting everything I can get my hands on. Take these Ball jars. Not one single thing is wrong with them when they are used for preserving food, used as cups, holding spices, you name it. But spray painted* to hold pet medicines, and keep the ugly, plastic medicine bottles off my counter? Well, that’s when they really start to rock!

And I needed some more blue in my kitchen because as far as I’m concerned, there’s never enough blue. Anywhere. Ever. And yes, I know this is turquoise but it’s in the blue family so I consider my statement to be correct. 😉

IMG_2039web

*Krylon SprayMaster paint plus primer in Sea Glass

craft, house renovation

Hello, corkboard

Part of my great laundry room make over was to hang a corkboard. I want a place to display my kids’ artwork so
everyone can see but I don’t want it on my refrigerator.

I bought the least expensive corkboard I could find. In retrospect I would have spent a little more money if I’d known that the cork was thin and the frame plastic. Since I was covering it, I made lemonade.

I had the fabric, but did have to buy the nailhead trim. It’s the fake every-four-spaces-is-a-real-nailhead kind of nailhead trim. Not what I’d use for fine upholstery but perfect for this. I’m pretty happy. Now if I could just find my thumbtacks!

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craft, quilt

New Quilt Shop

I found out about a new shop yesterday, Sew Main Street. It’s in downtown Woodstock, so it’s pretty close, but more importantly, they carry fabrics and notions for heirloom sewing.

I’m not all that I to heirloom sewing, but I’ve always thought it beautiful. And time consuming, which is funny coming from a quilter.

My sister-in-law is getting married in July and I’m working on a project for her. I won’t disclose any details or photos, but I needed delicate fabric.

I did pick up a few items for myself while I was there (of course). Some good for the stash pieces, and this adorable fabric from Timeless Treasures.

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applique, craft, quilt, sewing

Needle Know How

I wrote and posted a blog for my favorite quilt shop and thought I’d share it with you.

There are quite a few hand sewing needles and sooner or later you’ll need one, but do you know the difference? After some research I realized that I do occasionally (gasp!) use the wrong needle for projects. As long as it works I’m relatively happy, and while I can’t speak for all of you, I suspect you have from time to time been guilty of the same. So, what is the purpose of each needle?

If you are going to pick buy one kind of needle (not that we recommend that) the best needle to buy is a sharp. Sharps are good, all-purpose needles. As the name suggests they have a sharp point and are a medium length, compared to its shorter cousin the between (but we’ll talk about that needle further down). Sharps needles are good all purpose hand sewing needles and work well for attaching bindings or other hand work. Sharps have a rounded eye and come in a variety of sizes.

Betweens were specifically designed for traditional hand quilting. The shorter shank provides good control and the needle is thicker than others, giving it strength to move between the layers of the quilt. The small size of betweens allows the quilter to make small, even stitches. Like a sharp, a between has a rounded eye making it easy for threading. You can buy betweens in several sizes, the smallest of which usually speaks to those that have been hand quilting for a while (or have really small hands).

Straw needles have a narrow shank and the eye of the needle is punched within the existing shank – that makes a straw needle great for hand applique since the eye won’t hesitate when pulled through the fabric. Straw needles are also great for hand basting.

Long needles, or basting needles, are used to hand baste a quilt. The needles are long, hence the name, and the added length makes hand basting faster. The needles have a slender shaft to decrease movement between the three layers while basting. The larger eyes of long needles make them great for tying quilts, too.

Sashiko needles have significantly thicker shafts than traditional needles. The thicker shaft prevents them from bending and a larger eye enables the needle to be easily thread with perle cotton or embroidery floss. Sashiko needles are the perfect needle for big stich, Japanese sashiko or embroidery. Sashiko needles are available in several sizes. The shop typically carries a variety pack.

When choosing a needle size, it’s best to consider the type of fabric you’ll be using. In general, the lighter your fabric, the thinner the needle you’ll want to use with it. We carry variety packs if you are unsure of the best needle. If you’re unsure of the best needle, just try passing a few different-sized needles through an inconspicuous place on the fabric to determine the needle that passes through the fabric most easily and leaves only a small hole. Keep in mind that needle size increases as the number decreases so a 10 is larger than a 12 (I know, seems counter-intuitive to us, too).

Happy stitching!

craft, sewing

It’s in the bag

The last day of school is next Monday. It’s been a great year for us and I’m sad to be leaving his class. Little Mister had the best teachers this year! I just loved them! As a small token of my appreciation and eternal gratitude I made tote bags for them.

I was sneaky and found their favorite colors. The totes are 15″ wide by 16″ high, have a 4″ base, can fold up nice and small so they are great to pack in your suitcase* and they are machine washable.

I didn’t use a pattern but did get inspiration from a Heather Bailey pattern. Her pattern has a flap on the front so you can fold up the bag into an itty bitty packet. I didn’t do that. I also didn’t put any pockets inside the tote. In retrospect it may have been a good idea but sometimes a tote bag without too much fun is the perfect bag to take on an outing*.

*I just found out yesterday that BOTH teachers are taking amazing trips overseas this summer so a tote like this may be a perfect for their travels! And it’s okay if the bags don’t make the cut, too.