Sunday, November 28, 2010

New Doggy Bags

I have been working like a dog making these custom Doggy Bags for customers. I just finished a few more and realized I hadn't done Show and Tell yet. I have been making these for sale in my etsy shop as well as here locally. Here are photos of the first two that started the craze...
Their "Grandma" is going to put them under the tree with a bag of their dog food, a few treats and maybe a few other items. Now when they travel to Grandogs house they will do so in style!
No more plastic store bags for these dogs!

Friday, October 15, 2010

New Grandbaby!!

Introducing my newest grandchild, Jackson Scott. He was born on Saturday, October 9th and let me tell you, he's a big boy! His momma was quite a trooper and she put in an amazing two days of labor to bring this wonderful little man into the world.

Look at that hair!! He sooooooo gorgeous!

And there he is, on the scale proving that he weighed 9 pounds, 13.6 ounces!! He looks three months old! I get to meet him on Monday and I can't wait! Just look at that face! He needs to snuggle with Grandma, don't you think?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Penelope! The Easiest Quilt I Have Ever Made!

I know that you are all shaking your head. I am not kidding. This is the easiest quilt I have ever made and believe me, it doesn't look it when it is finished. The designer is Patricia Pepe and let me just say that her work is fabulous! The blocks are literally strip cut squares, that are then trimmed a bit to make the angular pieces, that are then transformed back into simple squares yet again. It sounds confusing, but it isn't when you are reading Ms. Pepe's instructions. The trimmings are then used to make that amazing border. I put my quilt together in two days! What you are looking at here are photos from McCalls Magazine and the designer's website. My version is on display at Country Quilts and Bears in Clearwater, Florida and I forgot to photograph it. If you are in the area, they stock the pattern, too. They also stock the most amazing batik fabrics if you are looking to make one similar to the one in these photos. I have already packed my camera and intend to go there tomorrow to snap a shot or two or three.... Can you see the secondary patterns? Isn't it great??!!!
I will be teaching this class in October and if you are interested, shoot me an email and I will give you all the details. I believe the class date is October 23rd. If you are not in the area, here is a link to the pattern. The pattern that was in McCalls magazine did NOT call for the X-Block Ruler, but the pattern itself (which seems to be identical) calls for it. I did NOT use the ruler and construction was easy. The results will speak for themselves...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Do You Think It's Time to Clean the Machine?

My beloved Janome 11000 was acting up. Believe me when I say that this is very rare behavior for her. She NEVER gives me trouble. I typically clean her out very quickly every Sunday, but I guess I have missed a few cleaning sessions....Wow. I nearly choked when I unscrewed the needle plate and found this nest beneath it! Really, it did seem like just yesterday that I cleaned her out.... When was the last time YOU lifted your needle plate and gave your machine a good dusting and a thorough vacuuming? And while I am at it, when was the last time you changed your sewing machine needle? Just like a good man, a good sewing machine needs a little attention and love once in awhile. Make today the day!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Monsters, Piranhas, Dinosaurs, and Rock Stars!!!

Yes, Grandma has been very, very busy! As I mentioned in a previous post, we are happily expecting a new grandson. He and his parents live in New York and I have flown up there (I wrote this blog before I left for New York) for a visit. This is my "show off" post. I hope it inspires some ideas in addition to stroking my ego....

The denim shirt you see above is one of my favorites - I bought the shirt and embellished it with designs I purchased from my favorite machine embroidery website, Emblibrary. Isn't it just darling?
Here is the quilt that I made for Jackson. I have to admit that currently this quilt is classified as my "Most Fun Quilt Ever." I drew the biggest piranha by hand and then copied it, making it smaller by maybe 20% and then smaller again by another 20%. I say "maybe" because honestly I don't remember exactly what the percentage was but in my mind (and that's a crazy place to be sometimes) 20% seems to be about right... Then I designed and built it as I went along, literally with no real plan, until I ended up with what you see in the photos. The best part (I think) was when I decided that the quilt needed more "teeth." Finally, I was able to put Prairie Points on a quilt. Aren't they the perfect piranha "teeth"? I had never done Prairie Points before... and for the record, I can almost guarantee I won't do them again... but that is another post.
Then I found these plain white bibs (below) at Babies R Us.... so I embroidered them with a design or three that I got from my fav machine embroidery website, Emblibrary. When I finished embroidering them I thought they were still too white, so I sewed a coordinating row of stitching around the outside of each bib. Then they were finished...

Then I found this newborn onsie (below) at, yes, you guessed it, Babies R Us. There were actually three in the package but I was still learning to properly embroider on fine knits and well, two of the onsies didn't make the cut. Also, I decided that the embroidery design couldn't touch Jackson's skin because it would be too rough, so I embroidered it onto the butt of the onsie (over the diaper). And FYI, there is great iron on interfacing called "fusi-knit" that my friend, Alison, of SewBeeItClothier on Etsy turned me on to. When you are done with your machine embroidery design, you can iron this wonderful product onto the back of the design to make it silky smooth next to baby's skin. And that's a good thing...
And then the fun really began and I got to make some of my Quilted Toddler Bibs for the little peanut. Since my red-headed step child said I couldn't embroider a bib that said, "I probably will not like Country Music," I compromised and embroidered the bib below. Yes, you guessed it, I am not a fan of country music (that blog link sums my feelings up nicely, and is hysterical!). I have asked my Grandbaby Momma to lay pillows over her belly to muffle the sound while she and my son are listening to country music.... Sadly, I doubt she complied.
Then I found the FABULOUS fabric below and made another bib.
And then I found this fabulous turtle fabric and, yes, I made another bib....

And then I started digging in my stash and I made this one....

and then this one...
Yes, Grandma has been very, very busy!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Creative Summer Vists!

Right now we have a visitor. Being that it's summer here in Tampa Bay, it's mighty hot out. Today we have a heat index of 110 degrees and that makes it difficult for many outdoor activities. We even ride our bikes early to try and avoid the heat. Since outdoors is a bit much we have been hanging out by the sewing machine where it's nice and cool. Above you see the tote bag we made - the machine embroidery design came from Urban Threads - boy do I love that site! They are trendy, tend not to create embroidery designs that look and feel like body armor and are cool, cool, cool.... just like me!
Above and below you see some photos of Heather, my red-headed step child, working on one of our creative summer projects. Heather lives in Muncie, Indiana and is a full time student at Ball State, majoring in Geology. Very soon we hope (she will come to her senses and) decide to attend one of the fabulous central Florida colleges for her masters, or maybe even just to finish up her Bachelors Degree... but that's another post. I digress....

Heather has a friend who apparently likes bacon a whole lot and she wanted to make some bacon magnets for her new apartment. Heather is making them from felt, using pipe cleaners to make them bendy and then she paints a face on each silly strip of bacon. I think they are quite funny. We were even thrifty and used old magnets from the covers of phone books, etc, to recycle.
Here they are being tortured in a frying pan...
WAIT!! Heather! How did we NOT photograph the Roll Up Travel Jewelry Case we made? That soooooo rocked our week of creativity. Send me a few GOOD photos, ASAP. Hugs!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Covering The Sewing Chair

As promised here is the newly created washable and reversible chair cover. I made a muslin pattern by draping the fabric over the chair cushion and continuously snipping and clipping until I had what I thought would be a pretty good fit. I used the muslin as the pattern, stipple quilted two pieces of fabric with batting, washed the piece, dried it, cut out the pattern and then bound it.
I then decided I wanted it to be reversible so I sewed double buttons on (a button over top of each other). Then I decided it needed darts in the front so I sewed them in to reduce the flair, tacking them down on both sides to maintain the ability to reverse it down the road. I must admit, the chair really does look better in person than these photos show. Oh well - I have said it before - I am a pretty good quilter, but a lousy photographer. We all have our specialties....

Either way, I just increased the lifespan of my most comfortable sewing chair. I am thinking i need to make a pillow that hangs over the top. What do you think? Oh, and I don't want to cover the chair back with the same fabric - I tested that out and it was just too much for the small room ... maybe that hanging pillow will pull it all together. I do have to remember, however, that old saying, "Sometimes more is just more."

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sewing Chair Questions...

What are you all sitting on while you sew? I have a very ugly office chair that I have had for years. My husbands family owned and operated a magnificent fine dining restaurant in Cassadaga, New York, many years ago. When they closed the restaurant the chair from the office was about to be rolled out to the dumpster. I grabbed it because I knew it had good bones and it was fabulously comfortable. It just looked horrible and, well, smelled a bit like garlic. Time fixed the garlic smell and I fixed the ugly blue tweedy fabric by recovering it with a fine tan canvas. Then to finish the chair off, I tied a big bow around the back of it to match the sewing room decor at that time (I KNOW! But honest, it really did look good when I did it!) and have happily used it for about the last 8 years. The photo below is the front view. Yes, it gets worse. Funny how we don't notice sometimes how awful some elements of our decor actually look.... I do remember the day the seat cushion got the apple juice stain on it, though. My granddaughter and I were having such fun - she sits on my lap and pushes the buttons, lifts the presser foot, and chooses the stitches, etc., while we sew. I was surprised that the canvas stained like that... Anyway, what did I do to hide the juice stain that looked mighty suspicious? I covered it with a towel. Really, I did. In the interest of full disclosure I took the towel off the chair for the photograph so you could see how really terrible this chair actually looks!
So, the reason for the post? Really, what are YOU sitting on while you sew? Does it need a face lift like mine did? Currently I am making a quilted cover for the seat cushion. I am stipple quilting it right now and will finish it off in the same way I do the Quilted Toddler Bibs and Quilted Toddler Jackets. I will show you the process in the next post. I can't believe how easy it is to do... although it isn't done quite yet... but we shall see...

Monday, July 19, 2010

Good Grandma Advice

Currently I have two wonderful Granddaughters and we are expecting our very first Grandson. Jordan and Andrea are expecting a baby boy the first week of October and I couldn't be more excited. I will be going up north very soon for a visit and I will be taking some sewn items up there with me when I go. (One item has me over the top excited and I simply can not wait to show you all! It is just so cute... but that is another post). Now, back to the reason for this post. None of the items I have made for him have been personalized. I can hear you all gasping. I know! Me? The queen of personalization and machine embroidery NOT doing this for her own, and first, Grandson??!! We even know his name - or so we think we do. They have told us that they intend to name him Jackson. Now I am sure you are wondering why I have not embroidered his name on anything.... well, here is why. See that darling little peanut to the right? For nearly nine months, while she was being cultivated in my daughter's belly her name was Olivia. I created and embroidered many things with "Olivia" on them. Oh, how excited we were when we got the call that "Olivia" was actually on the way... Funny thing is, though, that Olivia never arrived... Lucy did! Her parents decided to name her Lucy after she was born. Can you imagine?? What nerve! Will I make that mistake again? Nope.

I have to admit, though doing so is difficult for me, that the name Lucy is sooooo perfect for her. I can't envision her with any other name. She's a Lucy through and through, so her parents were right.....!


So for now I will just make cute lil generic boy projects and leave the personalization until the baby's name is legally filed with the state of New York. Not such a bad thing, just a fabulous lesson we embroidering Grandmas should remember. Oh, and in that photo below are Madelyn, who is hugging her little sister, Lucy.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Clothesline Purse and more Team Edward

My goodness am I enjoying this little detour I have been on! I promise this will be the last post (well, for a little while anyway!) regarding clothesline projects! As I wrote about in a previous post, I discovered these wonderful projects and patterns by pattern designer, Aunties Two. The Bali Bag pattern really motivated me and as I have said before, one thing led to another, and then I found the book, "It's a Wrap" by Susan Breier. Above you see what I made for myself using the technique from "It's a Wrap" and honestly, I really love this bag. Its sturdy and I can very easily find exactly what I need in it without any effort. It sits so nice in a shopping cart, and looks darn good while it is sitting there! The bottom line is it was a very fun bag to make and I used up a ton of scraps doing so. Really, seriously, it is made from three quarter inch strips of fabric just wrapped around a cotton clothesline and then zig-zagged together. Now I am thinking gift bowls for Christmas filled with bagged yummies… baby shower baskets full of baby necessities…. Quilt guild give-away baskets… secret pal gift baskets… you get the idea.

Oh, and in case you didn't believe me when I said I was an official member of Team Edward, below is proof. That is me and my very dear girlfriend, Jennifer, on opening night of the wonderful movie, Eclipse. We had a ball! If you haven't read the Twilight series, let me make a suggestion.... do so! It is such fun! I couldn't put the books down. Seriously.
Hope everyone had a marvelous 4th of July. I know I did. It was my husband's 50th birthday. Yes, he is my little firecracker. Every year he thinks the entire nation is celebrating his birth with fireworks, parties and cookouts. It takes a lot of pressure off me, so I let him continue with that thought... it works out so well for both of us!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Come One, Come all! Bib Class in Clearwater!

I will be teaching a Quilted Toddler Bib class at Country Quilts and Bears in Clearwater, Florida on Saturday, July 10th. The class will run from 10 a.m. until 4:30. Many will leave earlier than 4:30, but if you want to make a day of it, you certainly can! We really have fun in our classes there!

The Quilted Toddler Bib is a fabulous blank canvas that allows you to practice and learn any and all of the following if you are interested:
* Basic piecing
* Machine embroidery placement / personalization
* “Whole cloth” stipple, meandering or grid quilting
* Hand or machine appliqué
* Bias binding creation and application

You leave this class with a smile and a finished project in hand. You also leave with nearly all the skills necessary to create the Quilted Toddler Jacket. My bibs can be bought on etsy - my shop is:

Above is my darling Granddaughter, Lucy, wearing the small size bib on her first birthday. See how well she is covered? It is marvelous! Coverage isn't the only plus for this bib, either. It wears like iron. It can be washed over and over again and is as comfortable as an old quilt.

These patterns sew up to make great gifts and with the holiday season fast approaching, it is a wonderful addition to your repertoire! I can promise you that once you make one bib, you will have to make more! They are great stash busters, too. You can use up those orphan blocks you have laying around. You can make a bib or two from leftover charms or jelly rolls. You can use plain denim with the edges finished in bias binding and no quilting.... the options are limitless! Let your imagination soar!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Catching Up, Summer Fun, Current Classes and ....Twilight!

Hi everyone! It's so good to be back here! I have many things to show you so I won't delay. Above is my newest bag - I made it large so I can schlep it everywhere I go. It's made of nothing but clothesline and scraps! Sturdy as can be and not bad to look at, either. I love it. I made it using the Bali Bag pattern from Aunties Two. That pattern really motivated me and as I have said before, one thing led to another, and then I found the book, "It's a Wrap" by Susan Breier. This woman is amazingly creative and talented and her book prompted me to try my hand at bowls. My first attempt is below. The photo really doesn't do them justice, but you get the idea. These were made from a very ugly fabric panel and the purple, greens and golds really do look better in person than they do in this photo.
Below is the next creation I made using the cotton clothes line. It is amazing, to say the least. Again, I used a pattern from Aunties Two, the Bali Briefcase. For this one I used Bali Pops instead of scraps. One word. Wow. Those people at Hoffman Fabrics really know what they are doing. Look at how marvelous that bag looks.
Needless to say, I will be teaching "Clothesline Creation" classes at Country Quilts and Bears in July and November. The class samples I am working on are amazing and I am having such fun making them. I will show them off as soon as they are done! If you are interested in a taking a class, the first one is Tuesday, July 6th at 10 a.m. at Country Quilts and Bears in Clearwater, FL. Give the shop a call and sign up. We will have a ball, I promise!
That's the cover of the Bali Bag pattern.

On to my next discovery.... Ever hear of the Twilight Saga? Well, about two months ago my dear friend, Jennifer, handed me the "crack pipe," so to speak, in the form of the first Twilight book. Now, mind you, I am nearly 50 years old, have grown children and a college degree. How ridiculous. These books that were written for 'tweens, right? I should read them? My goodness, I don't think so..... but in the interest of being polite, one evening I opened the cover..... and I never put the book down. I am not kidding. I have now read and completed all four books, have seen both Twilight and New Moon on DVD, and I find myself daydreaming about those vampires and werewolves from Forks, WA. The worst part of the books? They ended!
I like to carry a drawstring backpack so naturally my new love for Edward inspired me to embroider the drawstring backpack that you see above. I made one for myself and am now selling them in my etsy store. Below is the shirt I embroidered to wear to see the movie Eclipse on June 30th, the night it opens. Oh, and my dear friend, Jennifer, who opened the door to this wonderful, magical world for me, she will be wearing the Team Jacob shirt I made for her to acknowledge her allegiances. Stop laughing. Seriously. If you are feeling a little humdrum, let me just say this: I will always remember the summer of 2010 as the summer I felt young and giggly again. It takes a lot to throw a nearly 50 year old woman back into the excitement of adolescence, but that wonderful Stephenie Meyer is doing just that for women all over the world. Well done! I'm a Twi-Mom Twi-Hard and proud of it!
Oh, and one more thing. I will keep this one very short. On January 6th of this year I decided that after 33 years of smoking I simply did not want it to be part of my life any longer. So I quit. It wasn't easy - but I did it and if anyone out there is feeling the time has come for them, and you want help, shoot me an email and I will tell you what I learned. There is no one out there that can't quit smoking - you just need to WANT to quit and then you will have the power TO quit. Also, there are a few tricks I discovered along the way to success, and I will happily share them. Big, healthy sigh of fresh air. There.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Free Scrappy Pineapple Block Pattern

So after about a gazillion email requests I have finally gotten around to posting the free Pineapple Paper Piecing Block Pattern I created to make the Scrappy Pineapple Beach Bag you have seen in a previous post.

I really do love the bag and have found it to be incredibly useful. I drag it to quilt guild, on plane trips, on the boat, and wherever else I may need to tote a ton of stuff.

Go download and print the FREE Foundation Paper Piecing 6 inch Pineapple Block and start using up your scraps today!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

What's a Grandma to Do?

I am very excited because my two granddaughters (and their parents) are coming to Clearwater from New York for a visit tomorrow! So what's a Grandmother to do but get busy and make their visit as special as she can. Here is one of the things I came up with. First off, I got this table second hand dirt cheap (nothing!!). It is solid wood and in my opinion it is gorgeous. It could use a bit of oil, but I didn't get to that. That will occur before the next visit... I decided that my little princesses needed placemats for their "new" table. I started digging through my stash and what you see below is what my stash told me to make. Yes, I sometimes hear voices... but that's another post! I love purple and lime green together, and I love pink and green together, so I thought (or the voices told me) why not use all three? So I grabbed a bit of each, and then remembered my Hoopsisters design CD and the rest, as they say, is history.
For the names that I embroidered onto the placemats I used a font from the Embird alphabets. I made the bias vine using my wonderful Simplicity Bias Tape Machine, and the whole project was done in no time at all. Or so I thought.... When I set the table I thought, "Geeze, wouldn't it be nice if I had some pink napkins...." Back to the stash I went and sure enough I had enough pink fabric from the binding left over to make coordinating cloth napkins. Then I was sure I was done, right? Nope. The table needed flowers. After considerable digging I found, hiding in my linen closet, this vase and I couldn't believe my luck. A perfect match! Now I am ready for my Princess Granddaughters to come and visit...
And so is Baby Sally. She can't wait until the party begins...
In the meantime, Go USA!! Don't cha just love the Olympics?