Monday, November 7, 2011

12 Days of Christmas Quilt Sampler progress

One of the things I decided to do for myself this Christmas was to make myself a Christmas quilt.  I joined in on the 12 Days of Christmas Sampler Quilt-Along hosted by Sara of Sew Sweetness and I've really been enjoying the process.

The idea behind it is that every Tuesday and Thursday a different blogger will post a block they designed on their blog along with a tutorial on how to make it and after 6 weeks we'll have a our 12 blocks ready to make into a quilt.

I did a good job staying on track in week one, and I was able to make my blocks on time.
My week two blocks I made yesterday.... still on time, but definitely slower.
And I'm looking forward to block 5 being posted tomorrow.

So on to the pictures!

Here are the fabrics I selected from Joann's:

Block 1: Christmas Truck (designed by by Julianna @Projektownia Jednoiglec)

Block 2: Santa Claus (designed by Sara @ Sew Sweetness)

Block 3: Christmas Hearth (designed by Kaelin @ The Plaid Scottie)

Block 4: Scrappy Star (designed by Jennie @ Clover and Violet)

And the first four blocks all together!

And here's the rest of the schedule for the quilt-along:
Nov 8 - Elizabeth @ Don't Call Me Betsy
Nov 10 - Riel @ The Q and the U
Nov 15 - Jennifer @ Ellison Lane Quilts
Nov 17 - Lindsay @ Lindsay Sews
Nov 22 - Jessica @ SewCraftyJess
Nov 23 - Sarah @ Fairy Face Designs
Nov 29 - Heather & Megan @ Quilt Story
Dec 1 - Kim @ My Go Go Life

I've also joined in on Anna of Noodlehead's Simplicity Skirt 2226 Sew-A-long and am using Through the Branches from Kitty Yoshida's Prospect Park collection in the espresso colorway:
(The background looks more like ivory in person)

And I've joined in on the holiday ornament swap over at Lindsay Sews

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Happy Halloween!

I'm perfectly aware that today is November 3rd and not October 31st, but since Halloween is up there with Christmas for me I've decided to extend the spirit a bit, and even though it might look weird I'm going to keep my decorations up for another week or two at least.  The reason behind this is that I was late in decorating for Halloween because I was throwing a bridal shower at my house mid-October and so I didn't want to put my decoration up as early as I normally do because I didn't want to have to take them down for the shower.  And then after the shower I was so busy with Oktoberfest that I didn't get around to decorating until October 30th, and that was only because we were throwing a Halloween party at the house that night and I had to.

Luckily for me though I woke up on the 30th with a huge urge to decorate, and so after quick stops at the 99cent store and Goodwill store I was able to decorate my house like this:
Spider web: from Goodwill: $9, Spider: from the 99cent store 
 Zombie head door knocker: from the 99cent store

Spider web: left over from last Halloween, Cinnamon broom: left over from Oktoberfest
Skull: from the 99cent store, Bottles: from Goodwill, $4 and $2
Bats: cut out by me from black paper
Trick or Treat sign: left over from last Halloween
Spooky House picture: I cut the house image out using my Cricut machine and glued it to Halloween paper, then put it in front of the normal picture that hangs in my dining room
 Frankenstein head: left over from last Halloween. Spider web: from Goodwill, $2
Rubber cockroaches: from the 99cent store. Gauze table runner: 2 yards mummy gauze from Joanns, $3 a yard
 Bats over bar: cut out by me
Haunted house cookie jar, mummy salt and pepper shakers: left over from last Halloween. Skeleton and witch candles: Cost Plus World Market, left over from last Halloween.
Dracula Halloween count down sign: left over from last Halloween
Spooky wedding photo (that shakes and goes "WooOooOoh" when you walk by it): From Goodwill, $6

So once again.... Happy Halloween!!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

October finishes!

Happy November 1st!

Oh my gosh, where has the time gone?

Since I only have three posts in the month of October it might look like I've been slacking but let me assure you that that is just NOT THE CASE.  My October has been so full of making stuff that I haven't even had time to sit and upload the photos to my computer much less edit them (which I do to every photo I post) and then post about them.

So in the interest of catching up I thought I'd do one post that just kind of wrapped up the entire month.

On the first of the month I finished up this friendship quilt

Then I make my ironing mat and posted about it

And then I made two dog beds with my dogs' names embroidered on them, but never posted pictures

Then I finished up a WIP and put the backing on the tablerunner I made my Aunt for Christmas last year and quilted it and bound it.  Now it's all done.

And then I bottled the Holiday Spiced Hard Apple Cider that I made

Then I made these dirndls for Oktoberfest


and Alison's (on the left)
From this pattern

While at the same time planning and decorating for a bridal shower I threw my friend Rebeckah

And then the next weekend was Oktoberfest, and the bunting I made was hung

And all the signs I made were up

And the centerpieces I made were on the tables
And the doll I made was up for auction.... but I somehow didn't get a picture of her =^(

And after all that craziness I completed the mug rug I made for the Mug Rug Swap Adventure 3 hosted by Leona's Quilting Adventure
And made a matching tea bag wallet for it and mailed it off to Canada
All this plus I've been working on a few things for my sister's birthday that are still hush hush, but I did finish and mail this Dia De Los Muertos apron that I embellished heavily with embroidery off to her as an early birthday present

and then just in the nick of time I decorated my house for the Halloween party we had for the young married couples at our church

and finished up mine and the Hubby's Halloween costumes.... pretty awesome, huh?

And now on to November!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Ironing Mat Tutorial

LOL.  In writing the title for this post I accidentally wrote "Ironing Man" instead of "Ironing Mat".  It would be awesome if I had made an ironing man to do all of my ironing for me and had a tutorial to share with all of you about how you could make your very own ironing man, but unfortunately I don't.  Luckily though the ironing mat I did make is awesome enough to make up for the fact that we still need to do it ourselves.

Now onto why I made an ironing mat:
My sewing room, while spacious, still doesn't have a permanent place for an ironing board.  Normally when I sew I pull out the ironing board from the closet and set it up somewhere where I think it will be least offensive, but it ALWAYS ends up in the way, and often gets bumped, and the iron is constantly getting knocked over.  Not fun.

While making the friendship quilt I posted about a few days ago I was constantly having to press the seams of all of my half square triangles open, then press my pinwheels open, then press my flying geese open.  Needless to say I was getting really frustrated with moving back and forth between my sewing table and the ironing board. I needed a better ironing solution.  Thus came my idea to finally make myself an ironing mat.

I've seen the different ironing mats they sell at stores like Joanns and they always look so boring.  With all of the awesome fabrics out there who wants an ugly ironing mat?  I always have some InsulBright insulated batting on hand for making pot holders, so who's to say I couldn't make my own ironing mat?  And who's to say you can't make one too?

To make your own ironing mat you'll need:
100% cotton fabric for ironing mat top and backing
InsulBright insulated batting or any other insulated batting
100% cotton batting
optional cotton scraps to pad batting
cotton binding
cotton thread

My finished mat size is 30"x20", so I started by cutting all of my fabrics to just over that size.  Whatever size you decide to make your own mat make sure you leave enough extra fabric to compensate for any shifting that might occur in the quilting process.

 Cutting the fabric and batting pieces.

I then made my quilt sandwich, starting with laying the backing fabric face down on my surface, then adding the optional two layers of cotton muslin, then the cotton batting, then the InsulBright with the shiny side facing up (or whichever side is intended to be the HOT side, according to the insulated batting's directions), then my top fabric facing up.

All the layers sandwiched, with my top layer folded back so you can see the layers.

All the layers folded back so you can see the backing fabric.

I pinned all layers together and did a simple squiggle quilting line with my machine.  Straight quilting would have worked, as would have a zig-zag line, but I used the squiggle,

Squiggle quilted at different intervals.  I chose to do lines close to each line of flowers on the fabric to accentuate them.

I then straightened all of my edges, and rounded my corners using a rounded corner template.  There's a good one here, or you can just use the edge of a plate.

Ironing mat trimmed down with rounded corners.

I then made myself a strip of binding using another cotton fabric and attached it using the method found here

Binding made and pinned to the mat, ready to be sewn. (You'll notice that this isn't the final binding.  I ended up not liking the yellow with polka dots and ended up switching it out for a red with polka dots).

And it's done!  Enjoy!

 My completed ironing mat.

Having this ironing mat has been so handy in the last few weeks that I've been using it.  Not only is it gorgeous (I absolutely love the Denyse Schmidt print I used for the top) but it folds up easily and goes in the drawer of my sewing table so it's right there when I want to use it.

A note about the mat:  Using 100% cotton and insulated batting is essential.  Synthetic fabrics and batting aren't as resistant to the heat as cotton is, so for a project like an ironing mat you want to avoid them. Adding extra layers of cotton batting or cotton fabrics under the insulated batting help block the heat that makes it through the insulated batting from traveling through your mat to the surface below.  And just to be on the safe side, I would not use the ironing mat on any nice wood surface.  Since some heat does make it through the mat if the mat is used extensively, using it on a surface that is sensitive to heat (like a wooden dining room table) is probably not the best idea.   With that said I've been using it laid on top of my cutting mat as you see in the image above for a few weeks now and the small amount of heat that makes it through has not damaged my mat at all.

In other news, the SoCal Social it tomorrow and I'm so excited to attend!

p.s. I'm linking this up with fabric Tuesday over at Quilt Story!
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