May 8, 2015

April BOM - The basket and precision piecing in action!

Sooooo... Where did April go? Once more, life kicks in and it seems that I cannot have a bit of rest to stop here and keep up with... Almost about anything... I've about decided that I'll never do and that I'd better not sweat it and just enjoy... Somehow... 

After the first four Craftsy BOM blocks amd all its ups and downs, I have been able to see the effects of this course in my quilting habits - and it's fantastic! 

I must confess that I finished the April block on the first weekend of the month... Last month, it is... My quilting is getting better (or at least I woulkd like to think so), but my blogging is not keeping up with it.  Please forgive me. I just hope that you join in the adventure and have fun together!

Let's get started with the (almost) monthly adventure... 

According to the instructions, each piece is cut individually - well, that doesn't happen much in my book - the following instructions part, that is. I'm actually starting with a square for the half-square triangles. It may be the bias cut that gets under contol with this technique, but I found out that this ends up being more accurate, so it works best for me. 

Another thing that I started doing, particularly after my intersection findings, is marking the inner seams, even when it is a straight seam.  Of course, it takes longer, but it's OK. For me, this quilt is all about learning and enjoying each step; almost like enjoying a dessert and taking time to flavor each spoonful... Now, that's making me hungry!

And here is one of those little exciting moments, when the blue line of the border print is right off the seam, so it sort of frames the print.

And here are the basket pieces all ready to be put together, with all their little inner seams marked. I can't say enough how huge of a difference this makes!

Let's start with the triangles. Take a look at the bigger light blue triangle in the bottom. Can you see it looks WAY larger? Well, it will look even larger once his neighbors are sewn together...

Now, this is where the extra step of marking the inside seams comes in supper estra handy. Even here, if you match the intersecting points (can you see the pencil mark?)...

... You will have matching points, even if you end up with "dog ears," that little fabric that goes way beyoind the edges, and fabric edges of different lengths.

And when everything is sewn together, you'll just feel like jumping out of joy! Happy, pointy triangles! Yay!

And again, we have pieces that don't have matching edges...

...but if you "forget" about the edge and focus on the seam, everything will be fine!  Just take a peek at the template on top of the basket. See the corners? Happy precision piecing in action!

Of course, every single part is getting its inner seam marked and that little tailor's chalk has become one of my favorite tools! I tell you, it's getting quite a workout lately!

And this is the reason why I am talking about the inner seams this much. See how easy it is to see where the seams should match? Once you press these poeces open, you won't regret taking the extra steps...  :)

Make sure that the points where the seams intersect does not shift and pin as much as you like.

... As MUCH as you like, like every fabric fold, both ways, just because you like precise piecing and pointy triangles... :)

Ta-da! I didn't even have to cut any fabric to have straight edges!

The sides and bottom of the basket also come together pretty neatly, despite the inset seam. Just make sure to use matching thread! That's right... I was not smart enough to use my super black Isacord, and the chunky cotton thread had to come off! 

Maybe next time I won't get that excited and just pay attention to the (what would seem) obvious.

Well, my dear friends; this was my celebration of finally understanding how to do it! You know, people say that it's only after several tries something works that it's proven true and accurate.

I'll be posting the rest of this block very soon!

Thanks for reading and stay blessed!


May 4, 2015

Something about the Hill

A walk in the middle of April... The Hill right in the middle of spring... What a sight! Let me tell you something about the Hill.

The Hill is where these fantastic irises come back each year. When I was a little girl, I used to look at pictures and paintings of irises, wondering and wondering how it would be like to see one. I even made a picture in chalks, because I just couldn't grasp the beauty of petals going in different directions. 

The Hill gave me this incomparable surprise and made my heart jump with joy when I saw them for the very first time in 2010...  I have never had the nerve of picking one. 

The Hill is host of innumerable tinni tiny flowers. In another world, they may be weeds, but they are a beauty of their own in the Hill! 

The Hill makes sure that these little bushes adorn the road every year. They are a rare sight... This shot is zoomed at the maximum in the camera and Mr. Fuzz almost had a heart attack when he saw me attempt some kind of contorsion to keep my hand steady and celebrate getting a picture of these beauties.

The Hill is home of a shy stream that roars after the storm. It has been known to become the quickest route to dreamworld for those who gift five minutes of their time close to it - basically, on top of the bridge that connects the two sides of the Hill. 

The Hill is where everybody driving or walking on the West road is welcomed by this beautiful field. Even though it looks quiet, it surprised us one winter by sheltering a bunch of deer that quicly jumped over the fence and into the tree line when we drove by. We stopped. It was so sweet to watch the youngest deer stay immobile in the front of the car for a while and then start walking around it, in a short attempt to satisfy its curiosity, interrupted only by momma's snorting who may have been wondering if we were hunters...

The Hill is a place where a sweet lady carefully sneaks some colorful flowers... the fraying kind :)  It is not unusual to see her throwing seeds close to some trees so that "the little birdies have something for dinner." 

The Hill is home to beautiful bushes that flower each spring. Some are sweet-smelling and some don't bloom until fall, but they all conspire together to bring color to the winding road.

Ah! The Hill! Unique and changing with the seasons... Home to the sweetest neighbors, and with a new twist in color and greenery at every turn!

And yes... There's a lot of weeding to do as well! We are blessed to live in such a beautiful corner of the woods!

Stay blessed,


Apr 17, 2015

Quilting saves the day!

Well, when at work one is charged with making a bulletin board and given a limited budget, what could cover more area at a lower price, but fabric... WOOOHOOO!!!!! I can share that I was not exactly sad about being asked to create a project that would be catchy and help promote our services in a sort of "old fashion" way, but that would still be nice to look at... Are you kidding me? Really? YAAAAAY! Quilting bug to the rescue!

Well, the first part was not only the fabric, but the colors. I knew I had to use the ones of the new logo... And just wait until you see them! What a fantastic combination! It was no surprise to see the finished project all catchy and popping up from the wall.

So, in my only trip to the craft store on business, I got practically the perfect match for what would become the board background... Tada!

Some patterns and two Kona solids pull the whole look together! In other words, I cannot take credit for choosing the combination; I just had that new logo in mind, which I personally think is much, much happier than the old one. 

And just because the paper aisle is next to the fabric section, I made sure to pick up some happy paper to showcase everything in the finished product. Not a sad thing to buy all these gorgeous materials on business at all! 

Oh my! I really felt like quilting right then! But heck! I decided I would use this project to explore color value and my quilty bone kept thinking that I was working on a landscape, almost like a lake and a sunset... Well, it really worked in my head! lol

I started cutting the fabric, getting strips of different widths of the accent fabric. I then sewed them next to each other, making sure I kept the color gradation equal, on each side of the cover. 

A little ironing to make it all pretty!

(lol... I really thought it was interesting to see the reflection on the back window, so I took the camera and snap! Even the iron made it to the shot!! :) )

Here is side one:

... and here is side two:

I think I like the more subtle variation with the skinny strip in between two chunky strips; I feel that the "lines" disappear... I don't know... What do you think?

Well, we made it safe and sound to the office, and here it was, waiting patiently for me to take care of the more imminent issues (lol)...

And taking a hint from previous quilting experiences, I had to keep the top from moving all around while centering the rest... Some heavy duty tape worked like a charm!

Just like with a regular quilt... Well, kind of... :)

First, place your fabric wrong side up on the floor, secure it, batting on top, board on top, right side down. Not exactly a quilt sandwich, but the right order to get everything in the right place! 

After trimming the batting, you'll have something that looks like this:

Then, use a staple gun to fix the fabric to the back of the board, starting on the center part of each side. Pull tightly, but don't overdo it; staples can fray fabric. 

Also, different fabric responds differently to staples. I worked with cotton, so I stapled at least three times as close together to the center as possible. If you were working with thicker fabric, you may only need one staple.

Here is a closer view at the first stapling:

Little by little, work your way to the sides, and fold the corners like you were wrapping a present.  Remember to trim the excess fabric when you're done.

Go on! Staple! Staple! Staple! :) 

Ta da! 

Well, after that, I got some heavy duty tape to finish the back; I also got some help with a kit and eyelets (maybe they have another nice, fancy name...) to hang it like a regular picture frame. These hanging kits are really handy; some of the original hanging hardware may be covered by the fabric, or you may only have one nail on the wall... Who knows! Just don't let a hidden hardware issue be the reason to keep you from trying something like this.

Here is how it ended up... Well, just picture each white space with information in it. 

So, here you have it! How to up-cycle an old bulletin board into an eye-catching, colorful spot! Just think, you can even make a photo board for your office! Man! I just wish I had all the time in the world to explore the unending opportunities to create.

Stay blessed!


Mar 26, 2015

March BOM - Fruit Basket

Oh! The joys of the creative process!  

The March BOM brought new techniques and things to learn, but the main thing is that I was finally able to enjoy every step.

The main new challenge for this block was the handle. Yup! Another first time for me... applique on a quilt block. I took as long as I could and decided to be extra careful to enjoy every part of the process, stitch by stitch...  

It is amazing what a bias cut can do! It was almost as if the fabric laid on top of the triangle by itself.  And yes, I thought that a picture with a bunch of pins would look cute... lol

I had fun making this block! Finally! FUN with this 2015 BOM that has pushed me to quilting limits I didn't know existed...

You know I use my machine to sew, but let's admit it - there is something quite special about hand sewing. To be honest, I'm probably so excited because it's only one handle and not the whole quilt! 

Tada! Handle attached and pointy triangles!  :)

By this point, I was already happy dancing... All of those points, matching seams and intersections matching made me feel like a quilting "big girl." LOL

After so many ups and downs with the previous blocks, I was elated to complete one without questioning every single step (and understanding what I was supposed to do), and my first bias fabric applique on a quilt block. I love it! Ah! The marvels of the learning process!

With a picture that feels like a diploma, here are the first four blocks:

It's interesting; I feel this... feeling (lol...) that could be described more as a big sense of accomplishment wrapping around me while leaning back on the chair, with my hands behind my back and legs stretched out! Nice! Just that... Smile...

Stay blessed,