TGIFF: Seminole Table Runner

I’m not sure what it is about the holidays but every year I get the wild hair to start something the week before Christmas that I MUST GET DONE by Christmas.

It happened last year with my first Dresden project that turned in to a holiday runner.  I was literally sewing the binding on before we left for our family gatherings! I was so proud of it that I took it with me so it would be used as a part of the holiday decor at each house we visited!

This year was no different. My husband went to Green Bay for a Packer’s game and went out of his way to find a quilt shop and bring home a kit for me. How thoughtful! Well, I started that project on Monday with the intention of working on it with my friend while the kids played together. That partially happened: I got to work on it but not with my friend because my son got very, very sick. ūüė¶

The first part of this project is linked here. Check it out so see how the runner top came together!

Since that Wednesday post, I’ve been stuck at home with a sick kid and a lot of rain. So I’ve poured all of that pent up energy¬†into¬†sewing. I hit up Joann’s Wednesday night with a few coupons and swatches from the runner to audition backing fabric.

I got down to four. The decision was tough as so many worked really well with all the colors or at least complemented them.

I ended up choosing that upper left fabric  with the poinsettias and ribbons. It had enough of each original color in it to tie the whole thing together while having a bit of gold sprinkled about to give it some holiday flare.

Then I sat down to sew. Now the biggest issue I had was that I wanted to quilt these grand things and really go ALL OUT with my designs. But as I started with a red thread on the red squares, I chickened out and stuck to what I know: a meander on the red and some straight lines on the green. I used red and green thread to blend in to the color square I was working on.

It’s been a long time since I’ve quilted something using my free motion foot and I forgot that I tend to hold my breath when I’m quilting. As I took off and made my first stitches, I totally caught myself NOT BREATHING!

It’s an odd thing…

To keep things moving and to simplify my job, I had my side-threading needle handy to bury my thread as I went. This way I wasn’t going back and having to seek out where I started and ended. Instead I was doing it then and there!

I decided to attach the binding to the back and fold over to the front where I pressed and clipped it down. Originally I started sewing the binding from the front to the back and I hated the way it looked. It gave it a “fringe” that I didn’t like. I think I used this technique WAY in the beginning with one of my first quilts and while it worked for me then, now I’ve progressed to a point where I know I can do better.

So I decided to attached the binding using the “stitch in the ditch” method for a quick and clean look. I did alright, much better than I have in the past with this method, although I did have a corner to fix and some areas where I missed the binding and had small gaps.

And before the clock struck midnight, I was done! I was aiming to do some of my best work (really focused on pressing and starching my fabrics before and during the process) and I feel I really did a great job!

All the fabrics seem to work well together. My binging is not too shabby (although it could still use some practice). My quilting has really come a long way and I like the flow of the two types; straight lines and the meander.

I used pins to hold down my binding and I took my time to measure and cut carefully¬†and yet, it’s still not completed flat and one end is a quarter inch wider than the other. I’m still working on achieving a more perfected rhythm to the whole thing. I’ll get there someday!

But hey… I started this runner on Monday and I finished by Friday. I’m proud of my self for sticking with something from beginning to end, trying some new techniques, and even going back to some old ones and working on improving them. Those are some big improvements in the way I tend to work so this is a serious accomplishment for me!

And this weekend¬†it will travel with me to all of the holiday parties we have lined up. I may even leave it up until we go back to school. I mean, why not? It’s beautiful and I want to leave it out so I can enjoy it as long as I can!

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WIP: Seminole Table Runner

I’ve got a wonderful man in my life. Not only is he my best friend but he is a great guy all around.

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Recently he traveled all the way to Green Bay to see his favorite football team play in the snow. He’s nuts, we know. Leaving the mild Southern California fall/winter weather for the freezing temps of Wisconsin to sit through a Packer game at Lambeau field just because he loves Green Bay that much.

But that’s not what makes him great. While there, he went to Manitowoc to see the sights and take a few pictures but he also went looking for a quilt shop for me. And while there, he picks dup a beautiful Terry Atkinson Christmas table runner kit.

It was a wonderful surprise to receive when he came home. And a beautiful one too! Once I was out of school and on break, I decided to dive in and give this kit a go. It seemed clear cut and simple enough that I could put it together by Christmas.

I started on Monday night and put a good 3 hours in. I made sure to press everything before cutting and¬†to¬†be as meticulous with the instructions as possible. I wanted to do a really good job (not that I don’t always want to do a good job but sometimes I just want to get done more than anything).

I slowly made progress and found the instructions in this kit really easy to understand! I’m usually so turned off from ¬†patterns because they seem to be poorly written and hard for me to understand. I’m so visual I do best when I can see the information as well as read each step.

So far so good! I’ve made it to the point that I’m ready to add the inner borders and then I just have to cut the thicker borders to wrap up the top.¬†img_0786

A friend is planning on coming over tomorrow to sew with me so I’d love to have the whole thing basted and ready to quilt by then. After the kiddos bedtime tonight I plan to sit down and get the top finished. I’ll have to dig up some batting and maybe even shop for a little bit of backing fabric if I don’t have it in my stash.

Crossing fingers I can stick to my sewing schedule so that I’m not rushing to finish it like I did last year with the Dresden wall hanging that I was literally binding on Christmas Eve!

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TGIFF: My First Dresden!

Having my mom as my partner in crime is definitely a blessing in disguise because she’s constantly trying new things and it encourages me to step out of my comfort zone and do the same.

Now my husband may disagree only because when I get motivated to try something new¬†that means trouble for our bank account. NEW FABRIC!!!! Must have rulers!!!! Oh he must cringe when I tell him I’m trying something new and I must go shopping! Ha!

In all honesty, he’s just as encouraging and supportive even if he’s cringing a bit inside. Thanks, love!!!

Before the holidays hit, my mom attempted her first Dresden in the form of a baby quilt/wall hanging. I was so taken with how quickly she put it together and how beautifully it looked that I had to try my hand at my own Dresden plate project. So, I started to cut into my Joyeux Noel set to make my own holiday wall hanging.

I pushed to have it finished before Christmas so I could use it and I literally finished it Christmas Eve!! And I took that thing with me to each of our holiday parties so I could display it.

Christmas Eve binding!

When it was all said and done, I was in love!!!

This project took on a whole different look once it was completed and I was so surprised. It has a rustic charm to it and it looks really well done even though I can see a few areas of improvement. But the overall effect is a well put together piece.

I used a different binding technique which was new for me. I did the double fold bias tape method. I have mixed feelings with this. I think it works BUT it could use some work. I think what saved my crooked lines is that I used a thread color that closely matched the binding color. Had I gone with a contrasting color, my mistakes would have stood out boldly and made the overall look messy and amateurish.

I have to say my favorite part to all of this is my quilting. Yes, I’ll toot my own horn. I LOVE MY QUILTING!!!! The echoing pattern radiating out from the Dresden really seals the deal. Again, my lines aren’t perfect and my start and stop points are messy but the choice to echo outward to the border and then leave the border plain with only a single framing stitch around the edge¬†brought the whole thing together.

I love it! It’s tight, neat, and clean without being too busy and burdening the fabric with too much of a quilted pattern.

Now as I said, there are areas where I could use some work. First, my start and stop points. There was A LOT of nesting issues and I know that’s more an issue with me than with my machine. My machine works perfectly still and I make sure to clean it out, dust it off, and I switch out ¬†my needles regularly so that it stays in tip top shape.

This is an area that I do need some help. I want the BACK of my quilted pieces to look as good as the front. Luckily this is a wall hanging so it will most likely be seen from the front only. If you look closely in the picture below, you’ll see how on the back my starting/stopping points are messy, bunched up, and there are some stitches that have even come undone due to not being totally tacted down.

While I wish the stop/start points were neater, the back is probably my favorite part. It looks to me like an art deco piece. And even though I LOVE the back and how it came together, I forget that I have the option to use two different colors, one in the bobbin and another up top. While this looks good to me, I’m still curious how it would have looked if I had used the deep rusty red thread in the bobbin that I used along the binding.

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So many things to think of and so many options for next time. And there will be a next time. I’ve fallen in love with Dresdens and I can’t wait to make my next one!

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Something New: Dresden Plate Piecing WIP

A few months ago, my mom discovered Pinterest. I had already been working on building my boards and pinning anything and everything I found interesting. Slowly but surely, she did the same.

Then something interesting started happening. We have a board together for quilting and anytime I posted something to read later on (I use Pinterest more as a reminder to read things than a place I post realistically), a day or two later I’d find out that my mom had read the same pin and bought all the instruments/fabric needed to create whatever I had shared.

It’s now become a running joke. If I like something, like a fat quarter set, or if I want to try something ,like this Dresden plate pattern from this site, The Stitching Scientist, all I have to do is pin it and BAM! Like Santa delivering gifts in his sleigh, my mom will have it purchased and delivered before I can say “Please”!

Here is the first string of blades. Isn’t this fabric darling? My mom started out with her first Dresden plate using an adorable Riley Blake Design¬†kit for a baby girl. I didn’t even know she was interested in making one when all the sudden I was receiving text messages showing her progress.

Holy smokes was she fast!!!

Before long she had TWO made!

She then began designing a simple wall hanging/lap quilt that will be bordered with the same fabrics as the Dresden plates. The plates will be appliquéd into the corners of a beautiful clean Kona white center piece.

Even her hand turned appliqu√© on this center circle is perfect! I’m jealous of her handy work and how far it’s come!

As she began the borders, she did find herself in a pickle. The directions in the pattern weren’t as clear as she wanted them to be. Now, in the past, my mom would have allowed this to deter her from finishing. Instead, the growth in her new skills show in her new abilities to work through a problem and solve any issues by stepping outside the box!

So cute! Love this set of fabrics!

Once I saw what she was able to make and how simple she made it sound, I decided to try it out myself. Using the Joyeux Noel set we bought from Moda, I set to work on my first Dresden plate. And she was right!! It was very simple to piece together.

My biggest issue was the hand piecing in the center. It didn’t go together as nicely as I wanted it to look but overall the process is one I’d like to attempt again.

I chose a simple echoing straight stitch from the edge of the Dresden out. It gave it a beautiful star-like look that radiants from the center. It even comes off as a little art deco, an architectural style I adore!

My only problem with the quilting: first, I should have used a red thread in the bobbin. And secondly, I’m still struggling with the back of my quilted projects looking clean. There was a lot of sniping and clean up to be done once I was finished.

I did a simple straight stitch in the plates, around the center piece, and echoing out to the border. Then I framed it all with a simple box around.

Voila!

Today I picked up some red thread to bind the whole thing together. I’m not sure exactly what I’m going to do, whether I’ll hand stitch or if I’ll do a decorative blanket stitch, but I’m ready to wrap this project up so it can hang proudly on my wall!

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{VIDEO} DIY Holiday Wreath

This holiday season I’ve really been in the mood to get crafty and decorate all while working within a budget. So I hit up my dollar tree store and grabbed a few items to make a new holiday wreath.

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I grabbed fake flowers, berry and pinecone fillers, ribbon, and a hanging ornament that says “joy”. ¬†My local store also carried foam rings that would work as the base to my wreath.

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If you want some tips and ideas, check out my video below.

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DIY Glass Bulb Ornamnets

Something is in the air this holiday season and it’s not just the flu bug (cough, cough sniff, sniff).

Dori has been crafting away and making a lot of her own Christmas decorations this year. She’s even gone so far as to repurpose some of her holiday items in new and exciting ways. Along with her usual decorations, she’s added some bulbs that have been personalized.

Taking clear glass bulbs and filling with a pearlized paint began the process. Her goal was to make a little snowman for the tree with a sock cap on top!

It all started out wonderfully, filling the bulb and even painting a face on the little snowman.

We mixed and played with paints to get the right color orange for his cute little nose.

So far so good!

There goes the nose!

Adorable, no?

What we didn’t take into consideration is that the paint would need to rest so that it would dry completely and stick to the inside of the globe. Once we hung him up, looking dapper and adorable, we noticed some streaks inside the bulb forming.

Now a week later and this little guy is clear again with a puddle of paint at the bottom. Oops! Well, we’ve learned what NOT to do and hopefully our next attempt will work out better. We’ll let the bulb dry upside down, draining the excess paint and waiting to add the detail until it is completely dry inside so that we won’t lose the painted coat inside.

The next DIY bulb ornament ¬†project involved my son. He got to make his own bulb for the tree. It’s filled with little fuzzy balls and bells all in the holiday colors.

While he watched football with Papa he stuffed the fuzz balls into his bulb and later added some bells. The colors and types were all his own decision so this ornament is very personal to him.

Then we added some ribbon ¬†and closed it up. It’s now ready to be personalized.

My mom is great at adding well printed and decorative writing to round ornaments. She did this for family and friends and even as a job during the holidays when we were younger. I hope to soon sit down with her and create a tutorial for anyone interested in seeing more on her techniques and tips.

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Hobbies Up To Here Episode #23

Ho Ho Ho hobbyist and crafters!


The holidays are upon us and we’ve got another podcast episode for you full of holiday cheer and laughter!IMG_6543

We have a few holiday works in progress. From my first Dresden plate to my mom’s first mug rug!

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Inspiration for the mug rugs come from Annies Quilt Craft on Etsy.

 

Our big topic today is on the idea of organization. We discuss the idea of over planning and squashing the creative flame and instead finding a healthy balance so that projects are easier to plan and execute.

We’re very excited for Dori’s Quilt Planner by Stephanie Palmer to arrive so we can start filling it up with great ideas for future projects and sew alongs!

We’ve been pretty crafty at home, decorating and creating our very own DIY ornaments. Check out Dori’s haul and mine on YouTube to see what we brought home to make these great crafts!

 

Dori’s gallery wall made with gift bags.


  So adorable! She watched this tutorial that helped give her the inspiration!

And her darling snowman ornament based on this tutorial.
Post to come showing all the bulb ornaments we’ve made with our tips and tricks.

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{VIDEO} Simple Bow Making Tutorial

Recently, I hit up the Dollar Tree store near me and bought a bunch of holiday ribbon so I could make my simple bows for gifts and decorations. You don’t need much to make them, just some wire edged ribbon, scissors, thread and/or floral wire. I used some wire ties I had saved up.

The steps are easy to follow and once you give this method a try, you’ll be making bows with ease!

{VIDEO} Dollar Tree Haul for Christmas!

No one loves a good deal more than me! And our local Dollar Tree store is nothing but a good deal when it comes to gifts and crafting items.

I love challenging myself to finding items I can combine to make great crafty items for both decor and gifts.

Check out my haul for Christmas this year!