Saturday, October 25, 2014

Summer Bead Market

I know that it is no longer summer but I still wanted to tell you about the new beads I found.  Last spring I went to the Bead Market show for the first time.  See this post to learn more about my experience Fort Worth Bead Market.  This summer I had the privilege of going once again.  This time I was a little more prepared and I had a plan.

As always I set a budget amount before I went.  This was a little tricky since there was a quilt show the same weekend so I had to split my funds to be able to attend both.  Setting my budget and only taking cash makes me focus on the beads that I really need or ones that I could not get anywhere else.  Since most of my jewelry I make sells for around $20.00 per piece I do not purchase expensive beads.  The bead market has allowed me to get some nicer beads at an affordable cost.

The next part of my plan was to walk the whole show at least once before I made any purchases.  Last time I started buying beads as I came to them and when I got further into the show there were several vendors that had the same beads for less.  Once more strategy I learned for next time is I will take a notebook and jot down notes about beads, where they are and the price.  Then when I am ready to make my purchases I will not have to stand in the isle trying to remember which vendor had the best price on a certain kind of bead.

It was not intentional but it seems that time I gravitated toward a more earthy neutral pallet.  These beads have been sitting in my shop all summer waiting patiently to be transformed into new creations.  Here is what I purchased this go round.

The stone beads seemed to really catch my eye.

The small packages on the side are filler beads.
I will post soon some of the new jewelry I make with these beads.  So remember if the bead market comes to your town I recommend you check it out.  You never know what wonderful inspiration you will find.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Pay it Forward - Always Give Back - Share Your Talents and Joy

I am a firm believer that if God has given you a talent or gift that He expects you to share that talent with others.  Recently I was blessed with the opportunity to share my talent with a friend and her son.

My dear friend Kay has four sons (and yes she is still standing).  Her boys are all grown now and have families of their own and she is enjoying being a retired grandmother.  Two of her sons are in the ministry.  As we were catching up with what we had been doing over the summer she was telling me about all of the craft items she was making for her son's church fall festival.  His church is not a large congregation and she was making some things to donate for their festival. 

Hearing this I jumped on the chance to offer a donation of my summer sewing and crafting endeavors.  I made several Christmas table runners and ask if the church would like one for the festival.  Here is my donation.

I used the keyhole block for this table runner.

The traditional Christmas colors turned out really well in this pattern.
Over the years my friend has always been loving and supportive of my family.  It was an honor to give back and support her child in his faithful ministry to our Lord.  So whether you call it "Paying it Forward, Giving Back or Sharing your Talents" remember that the Joy is in the journey and the journey is always sweeter when we share with each other in love.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Modern Table Runner

Normally I am not drawn to anything that resembles a modern look or feel.  But when I found this piece of circle fabric in my friends stash it sang out to me and I had to have it.  Maybe it was the colors of the circles that pulled me in, I am not sure.   Once I brought it home I began to consider all the possibilities this fabric held.  Don't you just love how many options you have in quilting with just one piece of fabric?

Since I was on a table runner kick at the time I decided to make a more modern feel table runner.  I stated with the piece I had gotten from my friends stash and pulled matching colored fabric from my stash.  I wanted the circle fabric to be the main centerpiece of the runner so I left it all one piece and added the pieced border using my coordinating fabrics.

The circles seem to dance across this runner.

The piecing of the table runner was simple and quick to put together.  As I began to work on the quilting I was trying to stretch outside my comfort box and try something new.  I found online several options but settled on the meandering circles for the centerpiece.  This brings out the pattern of the circles and was fairly easy to accomplish.

It will be nice addition to a modern room.
The border quilting is where the fun really began.  I thought since the fabric and the quilting in the center was somewhat fluid the border needed to a little more of a straight line angular look.  I came across this pattern of the connected boxes and lines and loved it.  It turned out well and really anchored the piece.

My lines and boxes are not all straight. 
But I felt it was okay since the center has a fluid feel.

At the corners I made a box, turned the runner and kept going.
In keeping with my quest for my pieces to have more than one look I pieced the back with a strip of the circle fabric. This gives you two different looks.  The front has a more energized feel and the back is a little more calming.
You can really see the different quilting on the back. 
And remember it doesn't have to be perfect.
As I continue to try to get myself out of always doing the same thing the same way I have found that the things I thought were really difficult are not hard at all.  Sometimes it takes me just "going for it" and allowing myself to try and fail that I break out of the rut.  I am finding that this is rekindling my passion for quilting and crafting.  Do you have ways that you stretch yourself beyond the boundaries of your abilities?  If so, post a comment below for others to learn from your crafting journey.

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 Shabby Nest

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.