Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Bracelet Organization

Why is it that sometimes you struggle with trying to figure something out and the solution was right in front of your face?  I love to make and wear bracelets so I have an abundance of them.  I have kept them in two goblet type vases for the longest time but this was not the best solution.  I began to only wear the ones on top because to get to the rest I had to dump out the whole container.  And since I am usually running a bit short on time in the mornings I am always in a hurry.

I have pondered and considered several other options over the last few years but nothing seemed to be a much better solution.  Until this summer when I was looking for a bracelet and got really frustrated. I told myself that there had to be a better way.  I really wanted each bracelet on an individual hook so that I could see all of them at a glance.  This was going to require a fair amount of space.

My original idea was to put Command hooks on my mirror and hang each one on the hooks.  But after thinking this through I decided this would look really messy in my bathroom.  Then out of the blue I turned and noticed the blank side of a small shelf in my closet that holds some of my shoes.  Then the Pink Lemonade Idea hit me like a brick.  That open side of the shelf would be the perfect place to put hooks for all of my bracelets.

So, here it is.  I can not tell you the difference this has made in my ability to wear more of my bracelets.  I arranged them by color (of course, everything in my life is arranged by color) on the side so now when I am getting dressed all I do is find the right color section and select the one I want to wear.  I had even forgotten some of the bracelets I had made because they were always in the bottom of the vase before.
Here is the finished product.
This is where it stays in my closet.

Instead of buying the Command hooks I purchased two packages of self adhesive plastic hooks at the dollar store.  So for $2.00 and a little time I was able to renovate my bracelet storage.

I purchased these at the 99 cent store.

I put 8 across on each row.  I lined up the top row with the edge of the shelf.  I then used a ruler and measured out the rest of the rows.  I hung a few bracelets on each row before marking where the next one was to be placed.  This ensured that they were far enough apart.

If you have an area of your life that needs better storage keep looking and don't forget to study the unusual places like the side of a shelf.


Monday, October 13, 2014

A Weekend Away - Quilt Retreats Are Great!

This weekend was great.  On Friday evening I attended our annual Holiday Fair.  It is one event I never miss.  I will post more about the ideas I learned from this event later.

Then on Saturday and Sunday I attended our fall quilt retreat.  It was incredible.  It was a much needed time away and then to sew for two days was the whip cream on top of the quilting sundae.

Below are picture of some of the quilt tops that were made this weekend for our ministry.  We also learned a new technique using a layer cake and charm pack.  I will post more details about this pattern later.  It will blow your mind away at how fast and easy it is to make a quilt top.

The weather this weekend even cooled off and it really felt like fall.  I enjoyed a short walk last night around the camp where we were staying in the crisp fall air.  And to think just 24 hours before that it had been 95 degrees.  Texas weather is constantly in a state of flux.  So we have a saying "If you don't like the weather just wait 10 minutes and it will change."

God really blessed our group and me this weekend with a much needed get away, crisp fall temperatures and even a little rain.  God is good all the time, all the time God is good!

Here are the pictures:

This is my disappearing 9 patch in very bright colors.

A twister quilt in fun girly colors.

A simple quilt.  The corner fabric has puppy dogs.  It is really cute.

Some more traditional patterns.

This is the new pattern we learned.  Above is the original quilt our leader made.

This is our version of the new technique.  (I will post more about this pattern soon.)

This was a quilt I am working on using up various scraps from our quilt group stash.  This pattern turned out sooooo much better than I envisioned in my head. (I will post more about this pattern soon.)
Getting away from the everyday grind and commitments is always beneficial.  I hope you and/or your group will make plans to get away and sew up a storm.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Stained Glass Bonus Project

In the previous post I told you about the Stained Glass pattern from Missouri Star Quilting.  When you make the Stained Glass pattern you can create an additional bonus pattern block by simply adding one more stitch line.

In the original pattern you sew a square onto the long rectangle piece to create the angled corner.  If you make that stitch and then move over a scant 1/4" and sew a parallel stitch you can cut off the extra and end up with a  half square triangle block.  That is what I did on all of my stained glass blocks and I had a pile of half square triangle blocks. 

My pile of half square triangle blocks

I took these blocks and put them together to make a table topper.  I was amazed at how quickly and easily it went together.  I played a little while with designs and settled on the one below.  There were several variations you can create.  To make mine come out to an even size I did have to sew 4 extra half square triangle blocks.  But I felt like that was a manageable number and totally worth the effort.  The half square triangle blocks are fairly small so I did a scant 1/4" seam not a full one.

This is the arrangement I finally chose to use for my table topper.
All sewed together before adding the border and binding.
The finished table topper.  It turned out so cool!

When projects render a bonus project for such little effort it makes my heart sing  As you have figured out by now I really like when I can use up every last scrap for something.  I hope you enjoy this bonus project and would love to see some of your serendipity creations.

This is the original quilt pattern.

The table topper bonus project.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Stained Glass Quilt

As I have posted several times before I love the patterns of the Missouri Star Quilting YouTube channel.  Well, once again here is another pattern I recently made from them.  This one is the Stained Glass pattern.  In the video Jenny uses pale tone on tone fabrics so hers really does look like stained glass.  For my variation I used a striking black, white and yellow combination.

My variation of the Stained Glass Pattern

It is amazing how just changing the fabrics makes a whole different pattern.
I chose this combination of colors primarily because I had the leftover jelly roll strips from a previous quilt - New Baby Quilts.  The pattern is fairly simple to piece and assemble.  I had fun arranging the blocks to get a good arrangement of the color and pattern variations.
If you watch the video you can see the quilts look completely different.  It is hard to tell they are the same pattern.  The baby quilt turned out to be more striking than I thought.  It has a modern feel yet somewhat traditional with the alignment of the blocks.
The back of the quilt is also pieced with the leftover fabrics.  You know I can not leave a back of a quilt plain.
The pieced back used up most of the leftovers.

The quilting made an unusual pattern on the back. 
The quilting was straight lines but I went around each unit block to create a diamond effect.  It turned out much more interesting than I originally envisioned. 
The quilting created this very modern grid type pattern.
There was a bonus project that came out of this one, but I will post about that later.  I hope you are inspired to try some new quilt patterns and have fun switching out the looks by the fabrics you select.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Shoes get an extension in their Life!

I am a practical person when it comes to footwear.  I prefer to be more comfortable than fashionable; therefore I wear lightweight flats most of the year.  I have flats in almost every color but my favorite are my black pairs.  So when one of my very favorite pair of black flats got a hole in the top I was not happy.  The fabric of the shoe is a lightweight mesh.  I am not sure how the hole was created but one day I looked down and noticed that you could see my toe nail polish really, really well.  The hole was not a large one but it was noticeable especially with bright pink nail polish shining through.

Well I started pondering some pink lemonade ideas and came up with a simple solution - a patch of some type.  I started digging around in my stash of appliques and patches and found some small dragon fly appliques.  They were the perfect size but the wrong color.  The appliques are white and my shoes are black.  I did not want to draw attention to the tip of my shoe so I decided to color the applique.  Now my first thought was to dye the patches.  But mixing up a batch of dye for two small applique patches did not seem practical.  As I began to stir the ideas around in my head it hit me.  Sharpies!  I could color the small appliques with a black sharpie very easily.

I colored the appliques with a black sharpie.

This picture is at the end of the summer and they still look pretty good.

This process turned out to be very easy and quick, my favorite kind of project.  Once the appliques were dry I glued them to the shoes with E6000 glue.  I wanted to make sure they stayed attached to the shoe.  They have lasted all summer.  The coloring has faded slightly but this just gives them a little more character.  The shoes have even been soaked several times and the patches still look great.

So, once again I can wear my favorite shoes a little longer.  Sometimes you just need to patch things up a little and you can extend their life.  I am always looking for ways to get more out of what I own.  It is not only good for the environment and my pocket book it usually doesn't take a lot f time or effort.  Hopefully you can extend the life of some items you have.


Monday, September 29, 2014

Fall Table Runner No. 2

The second table runner I made this summer was a simple coin pattern.  I have always liked the simplicity and colorful pattern of a coin quilt.  Once again I used fabrics I purchased from my friends stash.
The rich color pallet have a more modern feel in a traditional pattern.

I love the simplicity of the coin pattern.

In my excitement to make these table runners I did not take too many before pictures or write anything down.  You know as you get older it is a wise idea to take pictures or make notes because your memory is not always reliable.  I believe this coin table runner started as a charm pack.  I cut the squares in half and then sewed the smaller pieces into three sections of approximately 18 pieces per section.

After you have your three sections there are several ways to set them.  I chose to strip set mine with a wide border of the same fabric.  Since I wanted the table runner to be a medium size.  It finished at approximately 19" x 38 1/2".

The rich colors of the charm pack fabrics set against the golden border turned out quite nice.  The colors and patterns of the charm pack has a little more of a modern feel which is a nice change of pace.  I am not sure if I will sell this table runner or keep it for myself.

I was curious why this pattern was called a coin pattern so I did some research.  Here is what I found:

This site Quilting in America has a good sample of various traditional quilt patterns and a little about their origin.  I found several sites that talked about the origin of the coin quilt pattern.  There were different opinions about whether the Amish Bar pattern or the Chinese Coin pattern came first.  Overall most people seem to think the coin pattern represents a stack of coins.  Some patterns call for all the coins to be the same height and some call for various heights.  I made mine all the same.

Like most historical quilt patterns there are several variations, names and sources of origins for the Coin pattern.  This is one of the fascinating aspects of quilting.  With each quilt comes a sense of uniqueness to the maker.  Seldom are two quilts exactly the same.  What will your version of the Coin quilt pattern look like?  I would love to have comments and pictures posted below for all to marvel and share our unique versions.


Friday, September 26, 2014

Fall Table Runners

Over the summer I was busy working on some quilting projects and I made several fall table runners.  I am not usually drawn to the fall colors.  I prefer the summer and spring color pallets.  But I thought I would try to expand my horizons and when a friend was cleaning out her stash I snagged some beautiful fall fabric.

The first one is a simple pattern based on the size of the squares my friend had already cut out.  I added the end piece to create a rectangle block and then alternated where the end piece was to create a staggered look.  I then added a few borders and I was done.  The really exciting factor in this table runner is the quilting.  I have been working on my free motion quilting and have done mostly meandering type quilting.  I have this down pretty well so I wanted to branch out a bit.

The light colored squares are the ones my friend had precut.

I added the leaf patterned piece to each block the create the rectangular block.

It is simply yet very striking at the same time.
I found online several patterns that were in a fall theme.  I chose the meandering leaves to put on this table runner.  I printed out the pattern and pinned it to the runner.  I then stitched through the paper to get the feel of how the pattern flowed.  Then I just kept stitching.  Using the paper was an easy way to get started and I was able to continue without the paper on the rest of the table runner.  I was pleased with the results.
These are the sheets I printed.  I did enlarge one to see if it would be easier to master.

Once I finished stitching on the paper it was easy to tear away.

The finished result, not half bad for a first try.
Since the table runner has a large border I wanted to incorporate some additional free motion quilting in the border.  I first searched for an acorn free motion pattern but was unable to find one that I felt I could manage easily.  While searching I came across an article that talked about writing in cursive letters in quilting.  That sparked the idea of writing several words in a continuous pattern along the border.  I selected the words: fall, leaves, pumpkins and acorns.  I started at the end of the longest side and started spelling out my words.  This was really easy since I was not overly concerned if the words were all exactly in a straight line.  In between each word I put a little loop and some space to separate them.  When I came to the next edge I continued my loop and space around the corner and then began my words again.

Writing in the cursive letters was fairly easy.

Hopefully you can see the word fall.
The quilting on this runner is not 100% accurate but for a first try I was please with the results.  The next time you have a wide border and are feeling rather adventurous try spelling out your favorite phrase or words in thread.