Sunday, December 21, 2008

"Dreams of Santa" Pillowcases

I found this fabulously fun fabric and had to think of something to make using it! Being that I live in Florida, and my grandchildren and nieces live up north, is seemed especially appropriate for me to make something showing the southern side of Santa. I made these pillow cases and sent them up north for the girls to open on Thanksgiving. Doesn't every little girl need a special pillow case to lay her head on as she dreams of Santa and all the magic of Christmas? They take little more than a yard of fabric, much of which you can pull from your stash, and less than 30 minutes to make! I found several free pillowcase patterns online. Here are links to a few pillowcase patterns from the Ohio LongArm Quilters, The Mother Lode Quilters Guild, and Quiltmaker Magazine .
And here is my Granddaughter, Madelyn, holding her own pillowcase and standing on her baby sister's! It is amazing how I am able to work a photo of her into nearly every post! I do so love being a Grandmother!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Apron for an Angel!

The night before Thanksgiving, I truly had something to be thankful for. My sister-in-law and darling niece came down from Chicago to spend the holiday with us. Prior to Lily (she's the niece!) arriving, I had spoken to her on the phone regarding the Thanksgiving menu. She informed me that she really didn't like pie, but she sure did like Chocolate Chip Cookies.... Well, that meant that when she arrived we had to make chocolate chip cookies!

Lily is now four and a half, so I got to thinking that she was probably old enough to start to learn to sew. I knew it had to be a fast project, what with 4 year old attention spans being what they are and all, so I came up with a special apron for cookie baking. Lily sat right on my knee as we sewed the apron, she handed me all the pins, and helped guide the fabric through the machine. She even helped choose the fancy stitches for the pocket! The best part for me was that she was very proud of the apron she "sewed!" I am shamelessly cultivating future quilting and sewing buddies. Success and pride in beginning sewing projects will help. It is a wonderfully simple project and can be made from scraps. I made my pattern up as I went along, but at the bottom of my post is a list of great links to free apron patterns for the wee ones in your life!

This is Lily and her wonderful Mom showing off their great Pilgrim Hats for holiday.
Happy Sewing Everyone!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Penny Pinching Patchwork Post ~ Re-Purposing Clothes!

The house dress you see above has been hanging in my closet for more than a year. It was a gift from my wonderful mother-in-law and well, I just never wore it. She bought it for me at Neiman Marcus and it was a fabulously soft cotton fabric and even she said when she gave it to me, "I don't know what I was thinking..." It seemed such a shame to never use it so my creative quilter's brain got busy. You will not believe how many useful items and gifts I made from this one article of clothing!
First off, I made the Quilted Toddler Jacket and Hat that is shown above.
Then I made TWO Quilted Toddler Bibs!
And this photo shows you the the entire clothes line full of booty that I got out of ONE unused article of clothing! I was able to make ELEVEN quilted, and very useful, articles of clothing for babies and toddlers. The baby bibs would make darling baby shower gifts and no one would ever know you made them out of re-purposed clothing! A good movie on the TV, a seam ripper in one hand and a hot cup of tea in the other, and before long you have fabric just waiting for a new career! I pieced together the batting from scraps and used old yardage for the backing before I quilted the pieces, and made my own bias binding from stash fabrics. The entire clothes line was made from fabrics that literally were just laying around my house!

If you don't have anything laying about your house that you are not wearing, one trip to the SA Boutique (Salvation Army Thrift Store) and you could have for less than $3.00 enough fabric to outfit a baby's layette. I went there this past week and found several BRAND NEW floor length flannel nightgowns for $1.50 each that would make perfect burp cloths, bibs, changing pads, and jackets. During these difficult financial times it seems to make incredibly good sense to use our creative brains to re-purpose that which isn't being used. Buying from the Salvation Army is also giving to a good cause!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Penny Pinching Patchwork Post - Burp Cloths

I understand very well the current need for all of us to become more thrifty in our quilting endeavors in this financially difficult time. I have decided to start writing occasional posts with thriftiness in mind and do my part. I am going to call them Penny-Pinching Patchwork Posts. This past week as I was staring at my meager flannel stash (don't use much flannel down here in sunny Florida), and loving the softness of the fabric, I came up with a project that turned out a wonderful and functional gift, used up some flannel stash, and used a great deal of the cotton batting scraps that I save for projects such as this one. The project? Burp Cloths!
All of us, after having sandwiched and quilted our quilts, trim off the minimum of three extra inches of batting from all the way around the quilt. What do you do with those long strips of batting? I save mine! Those pieces can be made into a larger piece very easily and they then can work wonderfully for projects such as burp cloths, tote bags, pot holders, etc. You just straighten up and trim one long edge on each piece with a rotary cutter and then butt the two edges together (do not overlap them) and zig zag the pieces together. Keep (frugally) trimming and adding pieces until you have the desired size. Normally I use natural colored or white cotton thread, but for the purpose of illustration, I used purple cotton thread. I made eight burp cloths for my soon to be born granddaughter, Olivia, using nothing but scrap flannel and cotton batting. Next time you have a baby shower or a new loved one about to be born, whip up these ever so soft and necessary gifts!
After I pieced five "all one cloth" burp cloths (they measure about 10 x 2o inches finished) I found I still had some scraps of the fabric left over. None of the pieces were large enough to make one burp cloth, so I pieced four small pieces together four times (four pieces to a side) to get two more burp cloths!
Below you see the entire set, minus the Christmas one I made after I took the photos. Olivia is due December 9th, so when I found a piece of Christmas flannel, I knew immediately what I was going to do with it. Every Christmas baby should have a special burp cloth for that day.
Below you can see some of the fun edge stitching I did on each burp cloth. Prior to cutting the flannel, I washed and dried it to get the shrinking out of the way. Then I ironed each piece of flannel, cut out the shape I wanted from the flannel and batting, and layered with flannel right sides together and batting on top of that. I then sewed the seams leaving a small opening to turn it right side out. Once turned right side out, I ironed it nicely and then topped stitched it with a straight stitch. Inside of that top stitch row I sewed a fancy row of stitching. I found that this keeps the cloth nice after washing and drying it - it keeps the cloths from getting all wonky. Then as a final step I sew one straight row of stitches from side to side across the middle where the cloth would lay across your shoulder. It is a wonderful gift for a new parent!
To finish off my Penny Pinching Patchwork Post, I am including one of my favorite quotes regarding thriftiness:

Industry, thrift and self-control are not sought because they create wealth, but because they create character. ~Calvin Coolidge

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Importance of Keeping up with Current Events

Well, this was certainly a few weeks full of lessons for me. As I had mentioned, I will be teaching a Quilted Toddler Jacket class in a few weeks at Country Quilts and Bears. I have been a busy beaver sewing up samples for the shop that illustrate the many methods that one could use to create this jacket. I wanted to show a variety hoping to encourage quilters to sign up and take my class. I had made a bunch of jackets but I gave them all to my beautiful granddaughter like any good Grandma would, so my "jacket stash" was depleted. They were her size, after all. So, in my infinite wisdom I decided that I needed to make a jacket that was suitable for a boy, and another one for a girl. Hmmmmmm, what do little boys like? BASEBALL! Not thinking much farther than that, I decided almost immediately on making a Boston Red Sox jacket because their socks are just so darn cute (and I already had an outline of socks from a prior project) and what a wonderful way to show off my applique skills, right? WRONG!
I worked on this Sox jacket hours and hours before my husband noticed and says in the sweetest voice, "Honey, do you really think that a quilt shop in Tampa Bay is going to want to put a Red Sox jacket on display in their shop? Especially since there is a very good chance that Tampa Bay will actually be playing the Red Sox in the playoffs?" WHO KNEW??? Let's think about those odds for a few moments... I could have died. Cut ahead one week, and guess who's playing who in the playoffs? Yep, you guessed it. It's the Tampa Bay Rays vs. Boston Red Sox.
This past Friday I go marching into Country Quilts and Bears with my Boston Red Sox jacket in my tote bag and showed it to the wonderful owner, Marilyn. Oh, the look on her face. It was priceless. "Oh, my," she says. You see, as luck would have it, her husband and partner in the shop, John, is a die hard Rays fan and understandably this just isn't going to work. So home I go, humbled and laughing, with teal and yellow fabric under my arm, because after all, where do I live? TAMPA BAY! I really must start reading something other than quilting magazines.
So long story longer, here is the Tampa Bay Rays Quilted Toddler Jacket that is now prominently displayed on the counter in the quilt shop in Tampa Bay.....

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Pieced Curtains from Scraps!

In addition to working on samples for my upcoming class where I will be teaching the wonderful women at Clearwater's Country Quilts and Bears how to make my newest pattern, the Quilted Toddler Jacket, I have been making some curtains for my little angel's bedroom in western New York. Her mommy thought that pieced curtains would be nice, and that the fabrics and colors from the quilt I made for Madelyn when she was a baby would look great. The quilt is on the foot of her bed, and there is a better photo further down showing Madelyn laying on it when I gave it to her. So, as luck would have it I still had some of those fabrics left laying about and after a quick trip to Country Quilts and Bears I had enough fabric to complete the project. A quick trip to JoAnn Fabrics for lining and I was ready to sew.
I cut the fabrics into 5.5 inch squares, and started piecing to fit the sizes of the windows. Obviously, their beautiful 200+ year old home needs custom curtains because when I measured the windows I found that even when a window is on the same wall, and looks identical to it's neighbor, the measurements can differ by as much as 5 inches! I guess back then they built the windows on site, and didn't order them from Pella.
Never one to miss an opportunity to stick in a photo or two of my little angel, above is my peanut playing in her room. Below, showing how much she has grown, is a photo of Madelyn on the quilt the day I gave it to her.
The last photo, I must admit, I have put in for purely self-indulgent reasons. Isn't she just the cutest thing ever? That is a photo of Madelyn at her first dance class, standing there in her first Tutu with her dance tights drooping around her ankles and her Tutu sliding off her shoulder. Oh, to be that unconcerned with clothing perfection again. She is so excited just to be there, with friends, taking it all in. Big sigh. Grandchildren are the biggest gift of all.

Friday, September 19, 2008

SA Boutique Original

Creating for Quilty Indulgence hasn't been the only thing I have been up to recently. I did a bit of shopping at the SA Boutique recently and purchased a few items for my darling granddaughter. One of the great items I managed to purchase was this wonderful denim shirt. Imagine, a denim shirt for only $1.49! Yes, you guessed it, the SA Boutique is what I affectionately call our local Salvation Army Family Thrift Store. This is a very good brand name shirt, was in excellent condition and just needed a bit of "sprucing up". I laundered it as soon as I got it home, started browsing through my machine embroidery designs, made a selection and below is the finished product. Not bad for only a $1.49, eh?

I also bought another shirt, a wonderful grey sweatshirt, and on it I embroidered "I'm the big sister" with some pretty flowers. Sadly, I didn't take a photo of that shirt prior to giving it to my little angel. Oh, and that shirt was only $1.29!

Here is a photo of the back of the shirt.

I like shopping at the SA Boutique because often times it inspires my creativity, it recycles perfectly good clothing, and the money goes to a good cause. It is a win, win situation all the way around!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Quilted Toddler Jackets

Here is my little darling modeling her new hat and jacket that Grandma made for her! The quilted fabric I put into the previous post became this entire ensemble - quilted jacket and hat. It is a pattern I designed that makes the jacket out of a one piece pattern. It is sooooo very simple and what a scrap buster it can be! You piece (or go "whole cloth") a small quilt, cut out the pattern, bind it and this is the final result. If anyone is interested, the pattern is copyrighted and available at my website, Quilty Indulgence.
Madelyn Mary seems to take the modeling very seriously by all indications in these photos that were taken in western New York last weekend during a Grandma visit up there, but that really wasn't the case. She kept bolting for the hills - it was very comical and reminded me of when her own Mommy would run through the house (away from me!) with pieces of Halloween costumes or new outfits on her that I was trying to fit. Two year olds are simply not natural models or patient mannequins!
Here is another example of the jacket pattern. The one with the monkey applique was pieced. The citrus one is a "whole cloth" jacket. Either way, it is a simple quilting project and the scraps make the hat (pattern and instructions are included for that as well) so there is no waste!

Here is the pattern cover.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Still Quilting...

Yes, I am still quilting, as busy as ever. Trouble is, the items I am making are gifts and I know that the people that these gifts are going to read my blog. So, here is the first ingredient of something that I am creating right now. Can't say what it is, or what it is going to be, but I can show you what the first step looks like. Sorry for all the secrecy, but my hands are tied.....

Hope everyone is enjoying their summer and looking forward to the Olympics as much as I am. I love to watch those kids strive for their dreams - I am such a softie for that kind of thing.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Quilty Indulgence Goes Live!

Happy Friday! I have finally finished the big secret project! I have completed the copyright for my bib pattern, the Quilted Toddler Bib!   I have some more patterns that I am working on and will get them copyrighted and posted soon.
The bib pattern grew out of necessity as I watched my angel of a granddaughter eating her first little bowls of baby food. Her daddy would warn you to watch for what he termed “blow back”. Then there was the “waterfall of food” and a number of other potential actions that were a constant threat to whatever my little darling was wearing. I immediately saw the problem and needed to think of a solution. Thus the Quilted Toddler Bib was born. I chased my granddaughter around the house with an old T-Shirt, snipping and clipping to get it to fit properly in order to make the pattern and then, because she wasn’t the most patient of models, I kept modifying it at home and taking it back for fittings. We finally got it just right and I started making them for her.

That’s when the fun really began because as the parents of my granddaughter’s friends saw these bibs, they wanted some for their own children. I became a bib making machine and then a light came on in my head and I realized that I really had something here. I just had to get it all down on paper, and then get that paper printed!

I wanted the actual bib pattern to be full size (not one you had to tape together), so that required “big girl software” so that when I took the final drawing to the printer, it would print all in one piece. The paper needed to be 24 X 30 inches and my home printer certainly couldn’t handle that task. During this time my granddaughter turned two and outgrew the original bib, so I then I realized I had to make a larger size. So back to the computer drawing board I went, and I overlaid the larger size onto the same paper, like you do with sewing patterns and back to the printer I went. The printer I was using specializes in construction blueprints and such, and talking to him about sewing patterns was quite a lark. He just couldn’t wrap his head around what I was trying to accomplish until I stated, “this is the blueprint to build a bib.” Suddenly we were on the same page! The rest, as they say, is history.
Stop by my etsy shop, if you will, and have a look around. I love company! Have a great weekend, everyone!

Oh, and the inspiration for the bib is the little princess below, Miss Madelyn Mary!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Miraculous Teak Oil

I believe that my thought for the day, though it doesn't involve quilting, should definitely be shared. It is quite simple, actually. Above you see a teak Adirondack chair and stool. It is three years old and was looking terribly grey and nothing like it did when we received it. I was talking to the genius at Home Depot and asked him what stain and varnish I should use to revive my Adirondack chairs and stools and he said, and I quote, "Why don't you just rub in some Teak Oil?" Who knew? Certainly not me? At any rate, the above photo is the before shot, and the one directly below is the after. That stuff is amazing and I danced in circles I was so happy with the end result. A very good thing. Miraculous actually.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Widget on the Right Announcing....

YES!!! I am so blessed! My daughter and her husband are expecting a new baby December 9th! That means I will have TWO grandchildren from the best parents in the whole world. I am so proud of those two, and my granddaughter is very blessed to have "choosen" them for parents. So, Grandma being the nerd that she is, I found what I think to be the coolest baby countdown graphic ever. Scroll down - it is on the right and shows the developement and days left until my new little peanut arrives.

The photo above was taken minutes after my first grandchild, Madelyn Mary, was born -That is me holding her. Big sigh... life is really good...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Quilty Friendships Begin Here

It has been said the a true friend knows you better than you know yourself. I can agree completely with that statement, and I have proof hanging on my porch. Little more than a year ago I was blessed enough to have another quilter stumble onto my blog and post a comment. That led to emails back and forth. Literally thousands of emails have been swapped, and there was even a trip to the International Quilt Fest in Chicago where we were able to meet in person and spend one of the best days ever. Words just can't describe just how fun that day was.

All that being said, many months ago I received in the mail a package that contained the print that is shown above and below, hanging on my porch wall. When that box arrived in the mail from my dear friend, the porch didn't even exist. We hadn't built it yet. When I opened that box, I literally gasped. It was a scene that I had seen many times in my mind. For 15 years my husband and I have privately spoken of "the porch" that one day we would sit on, in wicker chairs, watching our grandchildren playing in our back yard while we sipped tea and looked back on our life. One year he even found a greeting card for me that depicted the exact scene we both had seen in our minds, describing our hope for our future. We had never discussed this with anyone else - it was just our quiet wish to one day own our own home in sunny Florida with a porch that we could sit on and reflect. We have been very blessed since moving to Clearwater, and the dream is now the reality, and today I was able to hang the final piece on that porch of my dreams - the print from a friend who knows me well enough to see something tangible and know that it matches me - right down to the exact wicker chairs and the hanging baskets of red impatiens. I am a very lucky girl. Thanks Mare. You're the best.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Copyright Pending....

Yes, I know I have been away for entirely too long. However, as much as I detest excuses, I must say I have very valid ones. I have been extremely busy with family and work, as well as my new pet project which I can only hint at today. I will tell you that it involves quilting though! Oh, and the photo above is a close up of one example of the finished product. Oh, and obviously it isn't a pattern for a Dresden Plate - THAT has already been done. The Dresden Plate is only an example of an embleshment option. This embroidery design from Hoopsisters is outstanding and if you have an embroidery machine, you should check it out.

I created a quilting pattern that is in the process of being copyrighted as I type this, and as a result of the pending copyright my legal counsel asked that I not slap it all over my blog until he has all the legal, yet terribly boring, things in place. He could suck the joy out of the most joyful of events. At any rate, I will tell you that I now have a huge appreciation for anyone that has created a pattern for sale! I created the pattern, after much trial and error, and loved the result. I was so busy making these "things" that it took me awhile to realize that I really had something there. SO, that is when the real work began. First I had to create for a printer, on my own computer, a 24 X 30 inch rendering of the pattern for insertion into the package. This had to be done exactly to scale so that when it printed it was the exact size and dimensions of the well worn pattern I was using already. No easy task. I had to redo that file no less than 15 times before I got it right. Right now I will tell you honestly that I detest curves. They are evil. Simple, yet very evil. I also had to learn new software because Microsoft Publisher and all my other computer programs would insist on breaking it up for 8 x 11 paper no matter what I set the page size at. Craziness - simply craziness. Then I had to create the step by step directions. Might sound easy, but let me tell you, that is no easy feat either. When you can do something in your sleep, and then have to write up how to do it, you keep skipping very important steps that you think, "...goes without saying..." Nope. You have to write it ALL out and back it up with real live photos. Step by step. THAT took me weeks.

OK, so all that being said, it is now in the hands of my amazingly talented "Presidents of Pattern Testing" and I await their response. I feel as though I am waiting for the doctor to tell me, after my children were born, that everything is just fine.........

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Birthday Travels

I just got back from visiting New York for this little princesses second birthday. Here she is, sitting on my lap, after opening the dress that I made for her. She is just the cutest little thing and I adore her! I had that wonderful fabric and just could not find anything small enough to use it on - and then I thought of a dress for my peanut! The perfect fit!

Friday, April 18, 2008

I Have Strayed

Yes, I strayed from my sewing machine a bit since November and hung out with the knitting needles. I started this scarf for my sister-in-law, Dr. Sara, in November with every intention of having it completed in time for her to use to brave those cold Boston winds of winter. Obviously I didn't make it in time but now she certainly will be ready for NEXT winter! It is made from the most luxurious yarn and I loved touching it while I was knitting. It is Alpaca, Cashmere, Camel and Yak yarn. You just can not believe how wonderfully soft and cozy warm this yarn is. Sara bought the yarn at a great yarn store in Boston called Woolcott and Company that we stopped by while visiting her in Boston. Amazing selection of the best fibers available. So, all that said, better late than never and another DONE on my list of UFOs. Woo Hoo!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Oh, The People I Met!

International Quilt Fest – Chicago, 2008!

What you are looking at here is a photo of Mare, Vanessa and I at the quilt show. One of the show photographers asked us (Yes, us!) to pose for a photo and here we are. I just “borrowed” it from the website so everyone could see it. If you want to look at the photos the professionals took of the show, click here (once on the webpage, click the link on the left of the page that states "On The Show Floor"). That is me, with my back turned to the camera, doing my first “professional” acting.
I must say that other than the birth of my children and Granddaughter, I have never had a more exciting and pleasing day. The real draw of the show for me was to meet my Blogsister, Mare, and her truly darling daughter Vanessa. It was so exciting I couldn't even sleep the night before. Hard for me to believe, but she is even more wonderful in person than I had perceived her to be from our literally thousands of emails. I am counting the days until next years show in Chicago. We are definitely going again!
Well, this past Saturday will certainly go down as one of my all time best days ever! Yes, that is a photo of me and none other than Alex Anderson from my favorite show, Simply Quilts. I nearly hyperventilated when I turned my head and saw her standing there. I am going to work on staying calm during future celebrity interactions. I fear I may have frightened this very kind woman.
I have many photos of the glorious quilts we were lucky enough to see in person. If nothing else, the Fest was a truly humbling experience. I will post them in days to come. They were amazing. This one here was one of very favorites. I loved the simplicity.