Sunday, May 30, 2010

Mother Daughter Aprons

Today was a no-sew day... these are a couple of the items I completed during this past week.  These aprons start off as dish towels.  They came in a package of 4 from  Ikea.  The youth size apron is the dish towel cut in half.  So with 3 dish towels I can make 2 youth and 2 adult aprons.  The pockets and ties are from fabric I bought at a garage sale.  So overall these are pretty inexpensive to make and go together quickly.  The part that takes the longest is the ties... they are long and have to be turned.  You can check out the pattern that I found on the BHG website.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Ribbon lanyard tutorial

This is a pretty easy project, but it takes a bit of practice when you first start to get the feel of it.  You first start off with two spools of ribbon.  I have not measured how much ribbon it takes, but I typically make my lanyards about 54" long, and I am sure that I can get at least two lanyards out of the two spools of ribbon.  The ribbon I am using here is 1/8".

Tie a simple overhand knot about two inches from the end.

The blue ribbon is on top in this case and the yellow is behind.
 Make a loop with the yellow towards the back.  Remember that this is probably the hardest part of the whole process... getting the first two loops to work nice together so they stay snug.
Wrap the blue ribbon to the right and back around the base of the yellow loop so the blue is now on the left.

Now you make a loop with the blue, with the loose end on the back side.

Bend the blue loop so that it slips into the yellow loop.  Before you snug it up, be sure there are no twists in either ribbon.  Pull gently on the yellow ribbon to snug it around the base of the blue loop.

After you snug the yellow around the blue, make a loop with the blue and slip it through the yellow and repeat this process until you have the desired length. 

You are always going to bring up a loop from the contrasting ribbon through the loop.

When you have only an inch or so done, you can see if you have the pattern going.  It should lay flat and have a uniform tension.  With practice it works pretty smooth.

For reference I have included one more image of the back side of the ribbon lanyard.  There is a definite front and back. If you put your project down before you are done, when you pick it up to work with it again, be sure the loose ends are coming from the front of the work.

There may be other ways to end it off, but when I have mine as long as I want it, I cut the ribbons and run the end through the last loop before I tie a knot on the end.  I then take the two ends of the lanyard and tie another knot... of course that would be after I have put my scissors on the lanyard.

Good luck with your lanyard.  If you have any questions, leave a comment and I will try to respond quickly.

A blend of crafts & quilts

I'm going to start off today with a sewing tip.  It's not a technique, but rather something I use.  Several years ago when I joined my Monday quilting group at church, one of the ladies gave me a lanyard she had made and with it a pair of blunt nose scissors.  She told me that I need to keep my clipping scissors handy.  The blunt nose is a safety issue, but for clipping, these little scissors do the trick.  Now I read a post on another blog the other day that showed a way to have your scissors on a lanyard attached to your machine.  That would not work for me.  I put my scissors on when I first walk into my sewing room, and quite often have them on when I am getting ready for bed.  Once I have them on, I don't have to look for them, they are literally always at my finger tips.  They come in handy for various other things besides sewing as I go through my day.  If I am going to be at home all day, you will almost always find me with my scissors on.  If I cannot find them at the start of my day, I'm almost in a tizzy looking for them.
Last week I decided I needed to replace my lanyard because the one Lillie gave me was getting very worn.  I had her show me back a few years ago how to make the lanyard so I could make some for others.  I used 1/8" ribbon for the new lanyard, but I wanted to see if it would look OK to make it with a wider ribbon, so I did a couple inches using 1/4" ribbon and I think it would be just as nice.  The significance of using this woven ribbon lanyard, mine was 54" before I tied the knot, is there is some give when you are clipping your threads and you have to stretch  because it is behind your machine.  If there is an interest in how the lanyard is woven/created, I would be willing to post a tutorial if you leave a comment to let me know.

Given a choice between crafts and quilting I have to tell you that I would choose quilting, but that is not to say that being crafty with something that isn't quilted can also be very enjoyable.  I recently made reference to a craft show that I will be a part of in November.  It was maybe a month or two ago that I made the decision to be a part of this event.  I have not participated in a craft show in a very long time because they have not previously been very beneficial to my efforts.  I have been to this show, and it is not like a typical "craft" show, so with some resistance at first, I said yes.  It is a big commitment of my time, but I am going to give it a good run for my money.  I will make an effort to share some of that journey with you here.  Once you are juried in to this show, you are not limited to what you can create... the sky is the limit.

One of the items that I was asked if I could make was stockings.  They have not had anyone making stockings in a couple years.  I have made a few in years gone by, so I got out my patterns, and compared them to those I found on the web.  The first question I came up with was the direction of the pointing of the toe.  I posed that question back a few weeks ago, and the general consensus was most point to the right.  I have made a few more than in this picture, but right now they all point to the right.  The two on the right here are from scraps of Christmas fabric.  The two on the left is a fabric that I bought already pieced with gold embossed patterns.  The scrappy stocking was from Moda Bakeshop .

I found a couple Christmas craft books that I liked in a quilt shop when I was recently in Florida.  One of the books had patterns for making silk tie ornaments.  These were patchwork ornaments, so I was able to stay in the quilting arena.  I have a tendency to start with a pattern, but not read all the directions because I think I have it figured... sometimes I need to go back and read to find out why my item didn't turn out just like the one in the book.  The heart and star were pretty easy... there was not much distortion with the bias of the silk ties, but there were a couple others that do not hang real smooth.  I guess I should have used a fusible interfacing.  The heart in the book had the buttons like the one I did, but I chose beads for the star tips in place of buttons.

I used the paper piece pattern with some of the satin fabric I had in my stash.  I embellished the heart with some beads, but the star really didn't need anything extra... one of the fabrics had sequins on it already. My background is varied, so my stash is not just fabric.  I have lots of ribbon and beads, so many of the projects I will be working on will not require much shopping.  Now I am always looking when I go to JoAnn's or Hobby Lobby for new beads, ribbon, fabric, etc.  One of the problems with a "craft" show is most people are not willing to pay the price you would need to charge if you used top quality fabric and other components.  I have a lot of really nice fabric in my stash that I will use for various items, but if I were going to make napkins for example, that use maybe a 1/2 yard of fabric, at close to $10 a yard for quality fabric, that means you would have to charge a minimum of $5 to cover the fabric... with nothing for your time.  I have a Christmas napkin that is pretty simple.  I can see people balking at paying $5 a napkin.... so I have to be careful what I pay for fabric I have to buy so I know I can get my output back plus something for my time.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Quilt, cactus & Esperanza

I made an announcement at my quilt group that I was taking a hiatus from doing quilts for anyone else until September.  Well it seems that one lady had a grandson getting married and another one had a grandson graduating and another said she wasn't in a hurry, so if I didn't get hers done until September it was OK... oh yes, there is the two quilts my sister sent to me and of course the lap quilt for Beth.  Well, I finished quilting one of my sister's quilts a couple weeks ago, and the wedding quilt needed to be done last Friday, so I got that one done on Tuesday... she needed to have time to put the binding on.  The graduation quilt needs to be done before June 7th, so I figured I had time to squeeze in the one that I have had for about 3 months.
I had decided how I was going to quilt the blocks that are set on point back when I first received the quilt... which was 3 months ago.  I had it all figured for a continuous line.  Well I loaded the quilt on my frame the other day and when I looked at the block I knew I had to go to my drawing board to figure out how I did it with a continuous line.  It took some doing, but I got it done.  I meandered on the rest of the quilt, but this is the block (and 29 more) that I was able to get done with a continuous line.  I was able to finish this quilt on Saturday and I was very pleased with the results.  When I called the lady to tell her the quilt was done, she was really surprised.

A couple days ago when we were heading out, I noticed that the cactus I had put beside the driveway maybe three years ago has finally decided to show some blossoms.  Wow, are they pretty.
The cactus I planted back three years ago was just a couple paddles (not sure what the proper name is), but all you have to do is stick it in the ground and you would not believe how they proliferated.  Cactus is one thing I have no problem growing here, which is more than I can say for my garden.  My garden is doing OK, but as each day goes by I am convinced that I started too late and it is getting too hot already. The other plant (bush) I have been very successful with is a native plant called an Esperanza.  I thought I might have lost my big established Esperanza with the hard freeze we had this winter, but it is coming back and actually has started blossoming already.  It blossoms profusely with brilliant yellow trumpet blooms, right up until it freezes in November or December.

I may not be able to grow veggies yet, but I can sure enjoy the cactus and the Esperanza.

Hope you are enjoying the weekend.

Friday, May 21, 2010


If you haven't heard of Castroville, it is a neat little town just west of San Antonio.  It has often been a destination for us when we want to go for a nice ride.  It is probably about 40 miles from here.  Now Friday is the day that we go, and the destination we sometimes don't even decide until we leave the house... we just know we want to enjoy the day and have lunch some place nice.  If we have a particular item we want to shop for, that can influence our decision of where to go, but it is kind of like our "date day", so the sky is the limit.

Castroville is where we headed today.  We always go to the bakery first.  It is an Alsatian bakery and the breads and pastries are wonderful.  After the bakery, the next item on our agenda is the quilt shop.  The shop is on my list of favorites.  My husband visits with the sales person while I shop around and I think about all the wonderful quilts I could make... then I think about all the fabric and quilt kits I have at home that I have no idea when I will get to them.  So I look for a couple neat fat quarters.  In fact I took one of the fat quarters that I bought and made 4 little zippered pouches when we got home.  I had to use some fabric from my stash to go with it, but I was inspired from a new piece of fabric.  I have my gift show in November to prepare for, so I try to use any spare time I can making something neat for the show.

After we left the quilt shop is was approaching lunch time and Castroville has a really neat cafe on the green.  The food is really good and the atmosphere is very quaint.  There is an antique shop to the rear of the parking area... some day I may go explore.  Today we chose to eat on the porch.  There are tables under the trees in front of the porch as well, but we thought the porch looked appealing today.

There was a cat that appears to be the greeter on the patio. He never approached the tables or tried to get too close to the people, but being a cat person, I thought it was kind of neat just to have him there.  The tree at the end of the porch behind the cat was a fig tree.  I don't think I have ever seen one before, at least not up close.

On the way home we went by a few fields of sunflowers.  It was a  real reminder of our trips through Kansas.  The neat thing about sunflowers in a field is they are always facing towards the sun, so in the picture of the field, they are all facing away from where we were.

Decided to take a couple pictures of my pouches that I made, the four from this afternoon, and the one I made yesterday.  I think these guys are really neat and very easy to make.

Have a great weekend.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Tim, Dad and Mothers

Mothers are special people.  This is a picture of my mother with my sister and I.  It was taken a long time ago.  Thought it was kind of a cool picture to share being the weekend of Mothers' Day.  Happy Mothers' Day to all the Moms out there.

I made it home safely from my short trip to Florida.  It was basically 3 days, but it felt like I was gone alot longer than that.  I had 3 really good days with my Dad.  My Dad isn't able to do many of the things he used to do, but he can surely play cards.  I had to recall my cribbage skills to match with the master, and I actually beat him on one match.  He doesn't miss a trick when it comes to cards.  He seems to be in pretty good health with the exception of his weak legs and his short-term memory.  He was exceedingly happy to have me there.  I haven't spent that much continuous time with him in years.

My brother is progressing in a positive direction although he has many ups and downs as he gets through his days, but with time, patience, and much prayer, I am confident that he will be restored to good health.  I had to keep my visits with my brother on the short side because he tires easily, but my father was able to go with me to visit Tim a couple more times than he would have if I had not been there.  I did go to visit Tim once without my Dad and I was able to take Tim for a ride to get him out of the house.

Thanks to anyone who may have been praying for Tim.  It is amazing to see how far he has already progressed, but he is still in need of prayer to get him through this rough time.  He continues to experience bad headaches, and cannot get much restful sleep.  You know when you don't get enough sleep, that alone can give you a headache.  Also not knowing what might have been the catalyst that caused this is causing some anxiety for him.

I praise the Lord for allowing me the opportunity to go to Florida to visit my father and brother.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

First day of May

Not only was today the first day of May, but it was the first Saturday in May, which means there is an annual garage sale in our neighboring sub-division.  I already have more than enough "stuff", but one never knows what you might find at a garage sale.  You might find an old Featherweight or a quilter that is trying to downsize her stash so she has room for new fabric.  The nice thing about a neighborhood garage sale is you can hit alot of them in a relatively short timeframe.  Now my best treasures today were not purchased.  At one of the early sales the lady said her father had put the plants out that I asked about... when he came out he said I could have the plants at no charge.  He advised that they should not be planted in direct sunlight, and he indicated that it has a red blossom, but that was about all... I forgot to ask him what the plant variety was. I don't know much about the plants here in Texas, but I'm thinking it may be of the bromeliad family.  I found a shady place to plant them as soon as I got home.  If anyone happens to know from looking at the picture above... please advise.

I don't do that many garage sales, but I may try to do more.  They are kind of fun when you consider some of the people you see and talk to along the way.  I found out about my Century plant, and I found a quilter that lives just down the road a bit and around the corner.  When we were almost back home, just a few houses down the road, we stopped at another sale and met neighbors that we had not had the opportunity to talk to before.  The lady's sister was there and when we told her where we lived, she advised us that her boyfriend just moved into the house next door to us.  He isn't officially there yet, so we have not seen him yet.  The house has been empty for a couple years, so it was a surprise... and she told us his name, so when we do meet him, we can address him by his name.

Last week we had friends give us some shrubs that they were replacing with roses.  We weren't sure we really needed any shrubs, but we have enough space to find a place.  I got them put in the ground as soon as we got home, and we have been watering them every evening, but they are looking pretty pitiful.  We shall see if there is any hope for their survival.

One final update, my mini-garden is coming along nicely.  My green beans probably need to be thinned out, and my tomatoes have a couple blossoms.  I'm trying to do the best I can with my limited knowledge of the growing conditions here in south Texas.