Monday, September 29, 2014

A Cotton + Steel Giveaway

It was my birthday this month, and one of my daughter’s, too.  Luckily her birthday is just four short days after mine so her special day eclipses mine, which is just how I like it now that getting a year older isn’t quite as fun as it used to be.  I treated myself to lots of quilting related presents this month…

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Did you know that you can get a pair of Gingher shears on Amazon for between $20-$23, which is a lot off the price at craft store?  Amazon has other pretty good quilting deals.  A pack of 5 Olfa 45mm rotary cutter blades will only run you $14-$15.  Add them to your cart and watch the price fluctuate up and down, then snag them when you think it’s a good price.

Speaking of scissors, I tried sharpening my old pairs with the tin foil and sandpaper methods, but neither worked.  The Gingher shears are much heavier than the Fiskars brand I used before, but they slice through several layers of fabric like a hot knife through butter.  Plus I’m pretty sure my husband can sharpen them in our electric knife sharpener if they go dull. 

In the spirit of birthdays, I thought I’d give away 4 fat quarters of my favorite prints from the Cotton + Steel fabric lines that came out earlier this year, a little thank you for reading my blog!  Your comments really brighten my day and encourage me to keep creating.

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So if you’ve left a comment on my blog in 2014, leave a comment here to be entered in the drawing.  This giveaway is open to all followers, US and international.  The winner will be drawn on Wednesday, October 1st.  Thank you for reading my blog and good luck!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Fall Fabric Flower Wreath {a tutorial}

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During a trip to Ocean City, Maryland this summer, I saw a beautiful burlap seashell wreath at one of the shops on the boardwalk and figured I could save at least half of the $44 pricetag if I made my own.  So I purchased a few seashells, starfish, and sand dollars, and when we got home I picked up a wire wreath form and some burlap at my local craft store.  And everything sat on the baker’s rack in the kitchen for months.  It’s well past seashell season, so I thought I could use some of the materials to make an appropriate fall-themed wreath instead.  Turns out I think I like this version even better than a seashell wreath!

Materials:

  • 18-inch wire wreath frame
  • 12” (1/3 yard) burlap fabric (you can also buy a spool of burlap ribbon if you prefer)
  • black jute twine
  • various fall hued cotton fabric scraps
  • pinking shears
  • 10 assorted buttons in assorted fall colors
  • DMC floss in assorted fall colors
  • spool of bow ribbon
  • heavy duty starch
  • pinking shears
  • glue gun

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1.  Cut burlap fabric using scissors or rotary cutter in six 2” strips.  Wrap the wire frame with burlap, beginning on the backside.  Glue the first go-around to itself to anchor the burlap securely in place, then continue wrapping, slightly overlapping so that none of the wire shows.  Glue the last go-around to the backside.  If the strip ends on the front, just trim a little bit off so you can glue it to the back.  Continue with the next strip of burlap.  Wrap the entire wire frame.  Trim off any little “threads” of burlap that are sticking out.

2.  Tie off the jute twine at the top of your wreath.  Then wrap in an “x” design around the entire frame.  When you get back to the top, make several loops and tie securely, so you have a hanging loop.  Hot glue this loop in place.

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The wreath should look like this.

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3.  Now for the fun part!  Grab your fabric scraps and pick out an assortment of fall hued fabrics.  I chose mostly yellow, orange, brown, and green, but mixed in a bit of cream and black because I want this wreath to work for both fall and Halloween.  The black jute twine and cream & black fabrics give the wreath a bit of a spooky/edgy feel. 

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You will need a total of 40 fabric circles, so repeated fabrics are fine!  Start by starching the heck out of your scraps.  You don’t want the flowers to look limp or wrinkly. 

Find 4 different sized circular household items (I chose the ribbon spool, a spool of washi tape, the bottom of the starch can, and the lid of the starch can.) 

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Trace each size 10 times on fabric (for a total of 40 circles).  You can use a magic marker or fabric marking pen.  Just write lightly so the ink doesn’t show through the fabric.

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Cut out with pinking shears.

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4.  Start making your flowers by layering 4 circles together.  Pick a button and sew together through all four layers of fabric with DMC floss.  Thread that contrasts with the button color adds more interest to the flower.

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5.  Make a bow with your ribbon for the bottom of the wreath.  I just totally winged it, but there are plenty of tutorials online for making wreath bows.  Glue your bow to the bottom of your wreath, then arrange your flowers around the rest of the blank space.  When you are happy with the arrangement, glue the flowers to the burlap with a dime-sized glue dab in the center of the back of each flower. 

6.  Hang wreath on front door!

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What a gorgeous way to brighten up your front door for fall!

This is scrap project #4 of 52.  Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A little holiday sewing {a finished project}

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I’m not sure what exactly motivated me to get hopping on some holiday sewing, but recently I’ve started a few fall & winter projects and have one all finished to share today!  Maybe it’s that reality has set in and I know I need lots more time to finish everything I want to, so I’m getting a head start?

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More free motion quilting and even some feathers of sorts (my first ever!!!).

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The fabrics are all from my stash—the quilter’s linen (not actual linen, but quilting cotton) is by Robert Kaufman.  The green polka dots is from that awesome shopping trip in Maine from earlier this year.  I thought it was Amy Butler or Kaffe Fassett, but it happens to be by Hoodie, not sure who exactly that is!  And all the low volume background prints are from my stash.

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The backing is an Aunt Grace polka dot from years and years ago.  It is from one of the very first quilts I ever made—back before I even had a blog.  That was when I thought you really needed 5 1/2 yards of fabric to back a twin sized quilt.  Ha ha, how times have changed!!!  

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And the binding is the same, from a box of bindings I made years and years ago before I started making my binding slightly larger (usually I cut it 2.75 inches wide).  Many of the 2.5” squares came from my scrap box.

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I’m counting this as scrap project #3 of 52. 

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Have you started any holiday sewing?  Do tell!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Caramel Finds a Friend

Once upon a time, there was a small brown owl named Caramel.  He was lonely and looking for a friend.

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He spied some beautiful flowers.

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But there was only a busy beehive getting ready for winter.

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Later he met a very cute, but possessive, mustachioed pig, who wouldn’t share any of his newest fabric!

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And then he happened upon a friendly hedgehog and her baby, who invited him to join them for tea.

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Finally, he wandered into the forest where he met a friend at last!

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All of the owls in the making of this story were sewn by my oldest daughter who is now addicted to sewing stuffed animals.  I had to sew the openings closed for her (and unfortunately I still don’t know how to do a ladder stitch so the closures are pretty rudimentary).  We are desperately in need of quality felt so she can make some of the animals from this book, which was delivered today.  Does anyone have any suggestions where we should buy it?  Etsy is good, but there is so much to choose from, I have no idea where to start.

The story was inspired by Rachael of Blue Mountain Daisy.  She always has the cutest and most creative posts with flowers, props, and clever stories.  If you don’t read her blog, you really should!  It will make you smile every time.

Have a wonderful weekend!