Monday, November 28, 2011

Rainbow Wrap - A Wonderful Scrappy Gift

Again, keeping to the Scrappy Theme, I just completed the wrap you see above and I found it to be one of the most wonderful projects I have tackled in quite some time.  It's called The Rainbow Wrap by the Rag Merchant.  I can't find a website for the company, but found numerous vendors selling this, and other, wonderful patterns by this company.  If anyone out there knows Jill Abeloe Meade or anyone connected with her company, the Rag Merchant, point me in the direction of that website.  I want to do more of her creations - they are gorgeous.   Below is a cover shot of the pattern. 
OK, back to the wrap.  Seriously, I am going to find it impossible to give this away.  I saw this wrap on the shoulders of a vendor at the Jacksonville Quilt Fest in October.  This vendor wasn't selling the pattern - she was simply keeping warm.  If you've ever been to the Jacksonville Quilt Fest you are nodding in understanding right now - that place is air conditioned so well you could store meat there with no concerns of it going bad.  I digress, but it's true.  OK, back to the wrap - I was struck by its beauty and once I realized that it was made entirely from scraps strips of batiks, I squealed like a pig!  This wrap is gorgeous.  It feels as good on you as it looks.  Last night after I finished mine I wrapped it around my shoulders while I worked on some paperwork and it was positively cozy.  Not too heavy, but just right and oh, so soft.  I immediately realized that this wrap would be wonderful on a car trip, airplane ride, or even in a movie theater.  As you will see, this wrap is not only gorgeous, it's incredibly versatile. 

Worth mentioning is that this wrap is extremely easy and fun to make.  It took longer to sort and cut the strips than it did to sew it up.  As stated on the pattern, "The frayed edge wrap is constructed of narrow strips of bright cotton fabric and it's trimmed with bias binding.  For best results use fabrics that look good on both sides like the batik fabrics..."  While constructing this, you get to use all those fancy stitches on your machine that we can never think of what to use them for.  If your machine is limited in decorative stitches, no worries, the pattern shows you how to use just a straight stitch that will make it just as lovely!  It's so fun to make and wouldn't this make the perfect gift?  To give you ideas for color choices, I found some photos of finished wraps online and I also included the one I saw at Jacksonville.  Aren't they gorgeous?  Also worth noting is that the wrap finishes 18 inches wide and it is light enough to fold in half and use as a regular scarf if you need a traditional scarf in cold climates.      

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Scrappy Lil Twisters

My newest obsession (like I need one) is the Primitive Pinwheels tool from Primitive Gatherings.  This one uses 3.5 inch square scraps of fabric and my goodness are the possibilities endless!  I finished my first one and immediately bought a stand to hang it in.   Now I have made different ones for different seasons and holidays.
Above is my favorite Christmas wall hanging - it was designed by The Gathering Room and is called Twisted Christmas (beware - their webpage loads as slow as molasses - so be patient).  The pattern calls for 5 inch squares, but you can easily substitute 3.5 inch squares like I did above and get the same exact design, just smaller.  So it would fit in the hanger, I left off the borders.  I became so addicted to the Christmas wreaths, I made three different sizes.  One using the 5 inch squares, one using the 3.5 inch squares, and the even smaller one using the 2.5 inch squares.  Again ... made from scraps, quick and easy (three hours, start to finish!), and most important - FUN!  Happy Holidays, everyone!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Scrappy Christmas Idea for that Dog in Your Life

Recently I had need of a doggie gift for my son's new dog and I was at a complete loss as to what I should make.  He already had a dog bed, which was my first choice, so I decided to make a blanket for his cage.  I dug into my flannel stash, and this is what I came up with - a flannel rag quilt.  Instead of using a little square of batting in each square, I simply used a piece of scrap flannel.  Look what a beautiful "bloom" I got from doing that.  So, I was cutting three layers of flannel instead of the typical two layers.  I was thrilled with the end result! 
Obviously, my daughter-in-law liked it as well, because I recently noticed it in a cell phone photo of my grandson.  I wonder if the dogs ever got a chance to lay on it.... hmmmm. 
Either way, it sure turned out to be one cozy quilt.

Monday, November 7, 2011

How About a Scrappy Christmas?

There's still time to make some spectacular scrappy Christmas gifts!  I just completed a few gifts that were very fast and very inexpensive.  I already had everything I needed to make these projects, so other than my time, they were free and during these not so great economic times, what could be better?
Above and below is my newest creation for new mommies - the play mat quilt. The one that is sashed with white fabric was made for my newest Granddaughter, Nora.  My daughter loves it because it's only about 40" x 40" and very easy to grab, throw down for a quick diaper change, or to lay across the couch when Princess Nora is propped up in the corner of the couch where she "holds court".  It truly is a very versatile quilt and because it's not very fancy, there is no fear of ruining it with use.  It's made to be used!  Utilitarian in nature, it really doesn't look it if you pick striking fabrics.   
 In fact, my daughter liked it so much I made a "boys" version for her to give to her friend when she has her baby boy.  That one is shown above and is sashed with lime green.
Here is a close up of the label and the simple quilting I used.  Oh, and below you see a gratuitous shot of Nora, happy as can be, giggling on her quilt.  Isn't she a cutie pie??
The quilts are made from 5" squares.  I didn't use charm packs as I wanted to use up scraps.  It takes 49 -  5" squares.  The sashing is 1.5" strips that when finished give you 1" sashing.  Once complete, I quilt it myself using a decorative "soft" zig-zag stitch on my Janome and away I go.  What could be easier? 

And from previous blog posts, here are great inspirations made entirely from scraps, that I think go nicely with the play mat.

Of course, I had to make a quilted scrappy bib, using my Quilty Indulgence Toddle Bib pattern...  It really does wash like iron and last just as long... I made the bib using 3" squares with 1 inch sashing. 
There are more yo-yo toys to come... I am becoming obsessed....

Friday, October 7, 2011

Meet the Teddy Bears

This past January I decided that I was going to learn something new and take a Teddy Bear class from the Master, Francy Gordon of Bears: Plain and Francy.  I am very lucky because she lives locally and teaches out of a local quilt shop, Country Quilts and Bears.  When I started the class I knew I was going to be making three Bears.  One for each of our three grandchildren.  Funny thing is that shortly after I choose the fabric and mohair to make the three bears, I got a call from my oldest Granddaughter, Madelyn.  She called to tell me we were going to have another grandbaby.   I was going to need four bears! 
What you see above is the first three Bears.  They are sitting on the lap of Francy's biggest bear, Boo Boo.  From left to right they are Isabella, Rory, and Olivia.  I picked the name for each bear based on the grandchild it was going to go to.  In naming the bears I used the last name in the list their parents had before they picked the official name for each grandchild.  Does that make sense?  Lucy was supposed to be Olivia - when she was born her parents named her Lucy instead.  Lucy's bear is now called Olivia. 
 Here is Hazel with her quilt.  I couldn't very well give them a teddy bear without a custom quilt to go with it, now could I?  Hazel went to Nora.  Nora is our youngest grandchild.
 Here is Olivia.  She went to Lucy.  Lucy is nearly three years old already.  How can that be?
 This is Rory.  He went to my only Grandson, Jackson.  He, just like his owner, is cute as a button! 
Here is Isabella.  She went to Madelyn, my oldest grandchild.  This was the first time I made a square in a square quilt.  I will buy that ruler if I do it again...

I can honestly say that I have never been more proud of anything I have made before.  These bears are spectacular - when you take a class from Francy, you really leave with a wonderful product.  She is one of the best teachers I have ever had.  These bears are heirlooms.  They are made from real mohair and are absolutely wonderful to hug, cuddle and play with, as well as to just admire.  If you are ever in the Tampa Bay area, give Francy a call and see when her next class is.  Making a bear with her is truly a wonderful experience!  If you don't want to make a bear yourself, she sells her creations on her website.  She also does a great deal of custom work for clients.  You can take to her that old fur your relative left for you and have her make it into a teddy bear.  Check out her website - it's fun to see her bears!   

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Jacksonville Quilt Fest - Fun Fun Fun!

Quilty Indulgence Quilted Toddler Bib
Here in my lovely state of Florida we have a wonderful quilt show called Quilt Fest of Jacksonville.  It is put on by seven amazing guilds who who come together as a group, calling themselves "Seven Sisters" for the purpose of this show.  And what a show this is!  I was in awe of the beautiful quilts on display as well as the 70+ vendor booths.  Wow!  It was row after row of quilter eye candy and goodies!  I met many wonderful people and I spoke to several about my Quilted Toddler Bib pattern.  Everyone loved the design I put onto the bib and I promised to post the source for the design and the bib here on my blog.  The pumpkin is a free machine embroidery pattern from Sew Swell Embroidery Designs (scroll down - it's in the fifth row) and let me tell you, the quality of their work is amazing.  I love their work!  The font was one that came installed on my machine.  I believe it's called Kidz.  There - that's the source list for the whole project.  Now all I have left to do today is unpack, do the laundry, catch up on paperwork, vacuum, empty the dishwasher, dust, sort through the mail, do more laundry, change the sheets, sweep, and get groceries.  Yeah, a relaxing Sunday for sure.... 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Fabulous Feedback!

What a wonderful surprise it was when I discovered this darling photo of finished jackets and hats that were made from my super simple Quilted Baby Doll Jacket and Hat pattern.  These gorgeous jackets were made by Beate Kingsley (or Sewloonie, as she calls herself on etsy) who left this photo as feedback on my etsy shop.  Beate hails from the southern shores of Georgian Bay, which as she states in her profile on flickr, is sometimes called The Sixth Great Lake.  It is actually part of Lake Huron, separated from it by the Bruce Peninsula which is located in Ontario, Canada.  She is very lucky to be just a few hours north of Toronto.  Whew, there is everyone's geography lesson for the day!  Beate is quite a seamstress and by the photographs I have found on her flickr accout, I can tell she loves her grandchildren!  She's a quilter, a knitter, and obviously loves to sew for children and babies.  It's worth the trip to flickr to see what she has created up there in Canada.  One of her albums, FOE FUN, has me wanting to learn all about this Fold Over Elastic.....
As I sit here and type this, I am willing to bet that my new friend from the great white north isn't wearing shorts and flip flops like I am.  It's still in the 90's down here.  Where is our fall???  Yoo hooo ... we are ready for you... tap tap tap....

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Nora Pearl Has Arrived

Here she is, my newest grandchild, Nora Pearl. She was born on August 24th at 1:25 a.m and weighed 7 pounds 12 ounces. Princess Nora wasn't due until the 30th, but she got bored and decided that the time had come to make an entrance. I think she knew there was a hurricane coming and that it was aimed straight for the east coast. Nora's pretty smart because she realized that that would cause Grandma some (serious) travel problems, so she ended everyones stress and came before the storm. What a good girl!

Here she is with her mommy a few days after she was born. Isn't she a cutie??

Above you see my oldest grandchild, Madelyn, holding her youngest sister, Nora. Madelyn has been the best big sister. I'm very proud of her!

Above you see Lucy, also a big sister now, holding her baby sister. Doesn't Lucy look angelic here? Three girls in one house - that's going to be fun to watch, especially since I, too, was one of three girls so I know the fun that they are all in for.

Above is a picture I took of Lucy's foot with Nora's tiny foot on top. Just before Nora was born Lucy's feet seemed so small, now they look so big! Check out Lucy's anklet. I soooooo love Lucy!

Here's Jackson! He's nearly one already - how can that be? Isn't he a doll? Look at those eyes. They melt me every time he looks my way. Did you notice the Christmas tree behind him? And the gifts wrapped in Christmas wrapping paper? Yes, you guessed it. It was GRANDMA CHRISTMAS! We had it on a Sunday morning at Nikki's and it was fabulous. I will post photos of the teddy bears I made for each of the kids very soon. I will say this - of all the things I have made through the years, I am most proud of those bears!

So there you have it - my four Grandchildren. The loves of my life. I am blessed!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Quilt Retreat and a New Grandbaby!

And what a retreat it was!!! That's Renita in the photo above. She and I drive together. Well, when I say "drive", what I really mean is that she drives and I ride. We usually bunk together, too. She's a perfect retreat buddy.

One of the wonderful things about a quilt retreat is the inspiration it naturally inspires. Renita finished a fabulous quilt at the retreat. I loved everything about it. It was called "Nice People Nice Things". Renita did her handwork in a beautiful pink floss and then sashed the blocks in a delicate line of pink and green fabrics. Did I take a photo of that quilt? Nope. I had to go searching for photos of blocks made by other people using the same pattern and then snitch them to show you all here.

Aren't they fabulous? Just pretend they are bordered in pink and green fabrics with all pink embroidery floss.

I can't wait to finish the BOM, Birdie Stitches, and get started on my own set. Yes, you heard me correctly. I found the whole set of iron on transfers for sale in the "Sale Room" at retreat. This set usually retails for $56.00. I got mine for (sit down for your own safety) $2.50!!!! It was complete serendipity!

I think this will be Nora Pearl's quilt one day. Oh, who is Nora Pearl you ask? She is my new granddaughter! We will get to her later. She was born about 30 hours after I got home from retreat....

How appropriate that I found a photo of the "friends" block just in time to introduce you to Pat and Judy (see below). Judy is on the phone with Aiden and Pat is on the left. You will all know Pat very soon as she is the author of the soon to be famed blog, Pattypiecer.

Below is Flo - she is making a pretty amazing Twister Quilt using the 6.5 inch blocks. I can't show that one because it's a secret...

Below is Cathy. She was a wonderful new addition to our group and I thoroughly enjoyed her company. I also thoroughly enjoyed her steam iron - see photo above. I dream about that thing at night. Really, I do.

This brings me to Judy, who you see below, holding up her Primitive Pinwheels quilt from Primitive Gatherings. She and I did this special project together - I did mine using batiks, and she used civil war fabrics. Both of our small quilts rock!

But they weren't as small as the one this crazy lady made. It's a smaller version of the Primitive Pinwheels quilt that Judy and I made. I nearly died when I saw hers. I am still trying to understand why...?

Well, it's mighty late and I just can't type another word so the Nora Pearl post will have to come next week. Sorry everyone, but this is one tired Grandmom! May all your dreams involve thread or grandbabies! Night all.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

It's That Time Again!

Yep. It's that happy time again - Retreat Weekend! I have loaded the Bug (see above) and my friends are assembled (see below) and we are ready to rock n roll! There's Judy and Renita and Pat and Donna and even Flo! Yes, that's Flo in the purple dress, of course. WAIT!!! Is that Aiden under the table?? How did he get there without being detected??!!

See the suitcase on the back of my Bug? That's the suitcase I have packed for when I go to NY. We are expecting our the 4th grandchild soon and I have to be prepared, just in case I get the call. Nora isn't scheduled to arrive until August 30th, but you never know... I will keep you all posted.

OK, I will be honest. Yes, I drive a VW Bug, but sadly, it's not a supremely cool one like the one shown above. It's only a regularly cool one about 50 years newer than the one shown above. Second, my dear friend Renita is driving us to the retreat in her Mini Van, which as I type this is packed to the gills. Renita, I know I've said it a few times today, but seriously, you rock. Really. You do. Now, Ladies, Start your sewing machines and let's get this party started!!!

...and I will remember to take photos this time! Mare, it wouldn't hurt to send me a few texts to remind me.... Roni, I know you are busy with the wedding, but send us a text or two so we feel like you are with us. Pam, you will be missed - have a wonderful trip north!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Updated Scrappy Toy Bag

Here is the updated Scrappy Toy Bag after the name change. I even embellished both sides with wonderful flowers made from the Clover Kanzashi Flower maker. Even they are made from scraps and old buttons! This is definitely my Scrappy Summer.... Oh, and I am putting the label on the quilted play mat that also goes in that bag and as soon as that is done I will post photos of that as well. Oh, unless I get "the call" and have to grab my suitcase and run to the airport. WooooHoooooo! A whole week of nothing but grandchildren! Does it get any better than that??? NOPE!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Quilted Scrappy Toy Bag

Remember the Scrappy Balls from a few posts back? Well, here is the Scrappy Toy Bag I have made for those balls, and a few other things, to travel in. My newest granddaughter is due to arrive in a few weeks and I firmly believe that every baby should have a bag of toys for when they go visiting. Now, from this photo I bet you are thinking that her name is going to be Hazel. Well, that just isn't to be. You'd think that I would have learned... but nooooooo. As of this morning I have taken the Hazel pocket off and have embroidered two new pockets that say, "Nora's Toys". Yes, let's pray that name sticks. I believe her parents are still trying to choose her middle name. I was thinking they should name her Nora Grace Hazel Eloise Pearl.... That's the list of names that this little peanut has held for short times during her gestation. Certainly one of them should work for a middle name..... wink wink wink...

This is a very easy bag to make - I literally made a mini-quilt top about 18 by 36 inches out of nothing but scraps. I then layered the quilt top with batting and backing, quilted it and then applied binding all the way around the rectangle. Once that was done I applied the pocket and placed the handles on top of the quilt top and over the side edges of the pockets, sewed up the side seams, and wa-la! I had a scrappy toy bag. I will show you the contents of the bag in future posts. I will also let you know the name of this wee one when she arrives and the birth certificate has been filed with the state of New York....

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Scrappy Clothesline Baskets

Isn't she lovely? This weeks scrappy project is a basket made with 3/4 inch strips of scraps wrapped around cotton clothesline. I love making these baskets! They also make excellent gift baskets - you can use use a theme (here I used brights), or you can use a holiday theme and pack it full of holiday type items. I have made these for Christmas using reds, whites, and greens and then filled them with baked goods. What a gorgeous gift that was! How about just reds and whites for the Redword enthusiast? Or what about school colors for the college bound? Oh, oh, oh...! How about fall colors to sit on that wonderful fall table runner.... as you can see the options are limitless!

This one is going to be a handwork basket. I used Clover's new Kanzashi maker to embellish the basket. I love those things and what a wonderful finishing touch! There are three different flower makers, each in two different sizes, making six in all. I used an old button for the middle of the flower. I used my favorite thread, King Tut number 918, for the fun, blended and colorful look. You will be seeing Kanzashi flowers pop up on numbers projects in the future! A Happy, Scrappy Weekend to all!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Scrappy Balls

OK, so I am a few days late (probably Linda's fault) but I think it was more than worth the wait, wasn't it? Here's this weeks scrappy project, Scrappy Balls. What child doesn't like to toss around, or hopefully roll, a colorful ball? They ALL love to play with balls! These are made from 100% scraps - and a bit of new stuffing, a lot of love and very little time.

Aren't they happy balls? I had a pattern for a medium sized ball, similar to this one, and then I simply enlarged it twice to make two bigger balls and then I reduced the original to make a smaller ball. The directions are here...

Isn't is a wonderful set of balls? And seriously, this is a very easy project. My girlfriend, Renita, will attest to this. She was very skeptical so I invited her over and she was amazed at how easily and quickly these little stash busters went together. Renita was so pleased with her balls that she took them north with her to give as a gift! I loved them so much I am making a scrappy bag for them to go into. Wait until you see that! It is going to my newest grandchild when she is born at the end of August... this scrappy summer is mighty productive...

**UPDATE: Roni took the challenge and I am thrilled!! Go visit her place and see what she is up to... Sadly, Mare has NOT taken the challenge. She has instead opted to go to somewhere in the Great White North to swat mosquitoes or some such thing... I have faith that if she ever finds her way out of there, she will participate. That's IF she makes her way out of there...

Saturday, July 2, 2011

My Scrappy Summer

This summer I am bound and determined to use up some of this copious stash. That is my goal, and as a result I will be posting photos of projects that use up stash. I will be posting every week. Hopefully YOU will be inspired as well.

This weeks project was the YoYo Elephant you see above. The pattern comes from Indigo Junction and is as easy as pie. It uses the Clover YoYo maker in two sizes. I used about thirty 5 1/2 inch scraps and about thirty 4 1/2 inch scraps plus some little bits for the head and the ears. By my quick mental calculations, that's about a yard of Aunt Grace scrap pieces gone. Wonderful! What child wouldn't have fun with this? So, a bit of my Aunt Grace scraps gone, and a treat for a granchild. Win-win in my book.

Mare, I am challenging you to attack your stash, too! Can you do it???

Roni, don't think you are getting off scott free. I challenge you, too!!! Now get sewing!!