Monday, December 17, 2012

Stay tuned....

I know it has been such a long time since I've posted anything!  That's not because I haven't been fact, I've been sewing like crazy.

I am making quite a few homemade Christmas gifts this year.  Including 5 quilts, a bag, and several pillowcases.  Whew!!!

I will post more on these after Christmas, because who knows who will be looking here before then!

Here's a few sneak peaks to know what's coming...
(These photos were just from my excuse the quality!)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Cowboy Flag Banner

As I mentioned here, my youngest son had a cowboy-themed birthday party recently.  I couldn't find many cowboy party decorations - although I didn't look too hard...just the party aisle at Target, Walmart, etc.  So, I kept it simple and made this banner instead of buying anything....

I had the red bandana fabric which was perfect, so just found some others that matched.  I cut flags each 9 inches tall, and used the 45 degree marker on my ruler to cut them out.

I should have taken pictures of that process.  I think there are tutorials out there for making bunting, or flag banners, though.

I just sewed along the sides of the flags with right-sides together.  I then turned them inside out, leaving the top edge open.  I folded the top down about 1/4", and then folded again ~1/4".  I sewed along the bottom edge of the fold (as close to the edge as possible).  I left enough room to thread some twine through.

I laid the flags out in the order that I wanted and "threaded" them onto some cheap twine I bought at Walmart for only around a dollar.  I was able to make 3 banners - 2 long ones and 1 shorter one.

The long ones had 13 flags each with about 6-12 inches between them.  The shorter one had only 6 flags - which I used along the buffet in my kitchen.  I also made the red bandana napkins on the buffet with the same red bandana fabric I had.  I just cut two big squares out, and sewed them together with right-sides together and left a small opening.  Then, I turned it inside-out and sewed a 1/4-1/2" from the edge all the way around.

You can see the horse cupcakes I made for his birthday in the background.  I think I'll be ordering a cake from the grocery store next year though.  That darn Pinterest made me think they looked easy to make!!!  I had peanuts, popcorn, and Chex Mix out as snacks too.

I bought the boys and their cousins each bandanas and cheap cowboy hats to wear at the party, which I laid on the table for decoration.  I also wrapped the silverware with napkins and tied with the twine, and got Mason jars out for the water glasses.

And, that was it!  Very simple and very cheap for an easy Cowboy party.  Sorry the photos aren't better.  I looked back at his party photos and realized that I forgot to get some good ones of the party decor!!!  The lighting wasn't very good at all!

One last look at the cute little birthday boy....

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Lorax Quilt for 2nd Birthday!

My youngest son's 2nd birthday party was last weekend.  We had a great time with family celebrating his birthday!  We had a cowboy party - complete with cowboy hats, bandanas, and some horse cupcakes that I attempted (a Pinterest venture).  All in all, we had a good time and I think the kids and their cousins had fun too!  Here's a photo of the birthday boy!  I made the bunting for his party which I'll post about soon. 

He got the (finally finished) Lorax quilt and book as his present from Mommy and Daddy!  My older son was excited to give him a present too - so, he gave him the Lorax movie.  We had a whole Lorax thing going, as I mentioned here.  

I had the quilt finished and picked up from the quilter a few weeks back, but just didn't get the binding on.  Finally....on Monday and Tuesday before his party....I finished it up!  Of course, waiting until the week of the party.  I couldn't get it done with too much time to spare - that would be just crazy!! 

I was excited that my local quilting store had the Truffala quilt design.  Yes, I now know those fuzzballs are called "truffala tree's" from reading the book over and over to my kids since we got it!  My oldest son found some orange crafty cotton balls and thinks they are real truffala tree tops.  So funny!  

And, he keeps yelling over and over again, "I speak for the trees, I speak for the trees...."  The movie and book are a hit with him for sure!  

This quilt was made from a fat quarter bundle as mentioned here.  I cut apart the panel into 10 different squares.  I used this "Stack and Whack" tutorial (kind of) found at From the Blue Chair to make the blocks.  Some blocks have only 2 squares, and some blocks have 3 squares.  

Each block measured 8.5" by 12" finished.  I cut out bigger squares from the fat quarters and matching fabric I had on hand.  Then, I used the method described in the tutorial to mix the colors and make each block look different.  I pieced together 3 blocks at a time, as recommended in the tutorial, so I wouldn't get them mixed up. 

I added a bit of fabric from my own stash to make it the size I wanted as well.  The solid white, green, yellow, and brown were all additional pieces of fabric I added.

It is 6 by 6 blocks, 36 total.  It is big enough for him to grow into - that's for sure! 
The backing is three parts pieced together.  The polka dot stripe is "Urban Couture" by Basic Grey for Moda.  The yellow and green are just from my stash and don't know where they came from.

I used the leftover fabric for the binding.  It is leftover fat quarters, and then the extra fabric that I added pieced together.  

The kids have had fun matching the panel squares up to pages in the book.  Some match pretty well, and some don't.  But, I think it is very cute and I like the colors too!  It was a great gift since we really don't need anymore toys around our house! :)  We even took it camping with us this weekend (which is where I took all these photos!).

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Lorax Started

I thought that this Lorax fabric was so cute when it came out....and, finally I broke down and bought a fat quarter bundle on Ebay or Etsy for a great deal.  I decided recently that it would be a great birthday gift for my son, who will be turning two in September.  He has so many toys, and our house can't take anymore - so, I'm making him a blanket instead.  (I bought him the movie too, which just came out last week - so I got a good deal on that too!)

So, I've been working away on it....watching TV shows on my iPad in the background! :)

I bought the Lorax fabric (from Robert Kaufman Fabrics) in the earth color story - but, they also have it in brights too.  It came with 9 fat quarters and a panel with 10 squares on it.  I wanted to cut up the panel in some way, so I chose to make some wonky squares.  I added to those some additional wonky squares - some with 1 border and some with 2 borders.  I will post more on how I did it when the quilt is finished.  

I now have the 36 squares done, just need to trim them down to the same size and sew them together.  You can see I have started that on the bottom row.  They are more like rectangles than squares - 9" x 12.5" is what I am trimming them down to.

Hoping to get it off to the quilter by this weekend.  We'll see how well I do with that! I've learned that I can't keep projects laid out on the floor for too long before they get thrown all over the basement by the kids.  Then, I have to start arranging again - after I find all the pieces - and it never seems to go together the 2nd time around.  Besides, I can't procrastinate too long - otherwise, I'll get stuck buying more toys for his birthday present instead!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Family History's been an awful long time since I've been able to post here.  I've been doing "summer" stuff and haven't had much time for sewing.  We went on vacation to Minnesota for a week, been spending time with our friends/family, and camping some too.  So, we've been busy!  It has been hot here - but, then again, I think it has been hot everywhere this summer.  It is brutal!

I've also been spending a ton of time sorting through old family photos and trying to get them organized.  When my Grandma passed away she left boxes and boxes of research she had completed on our family tree, as well as photos.  It has been a puzzle to try to figure out who is in each of them.  Especially the really old ones.  Why did they not label photos???!!!  There are stacks of photos, papers, and notes all over my office floor right now....seems like it always takes a mess to get organized!  I'm making progress though.

Taken in 1958, my Grandpa with his Five Children
In the process of getting the photos sorted, I've also been trying to figure out the missing pieces in the family tree.  My Grandma really enjoyed doing the research - she went on bus trips to Salt Lake City to do research there and typed up all that she had found.  She was planning on making a book for our family to keep, but she didn't get it completed.  So, I now have the goal of getting the photos and family tree information printed in a book for my whole family.  I plan on using Blurb to make the book, but I have a long ways to go.  I think it will take me forever!

My Great Grandma, Alyce, and
my Great-Great Grandma, Mary
In my conquest to get this finished, I have met some long lost relatives through the genealogy websites.  We've been corresponding now, and they've actually helped identify a lot of missing people.  Who would have thought!  It's exciting when you get it figured out after you've been staring at the same person in 10 different photos for days and don't know who they are or how they fit into our family.

Sod House built by my Great-Great-Grandpa in Nebraska,
who migrated here from New York in ~1890. 
I can't even imagine living in this place!
So, after weeks of doing this, I think I may need a break.....

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Hexy Stars Tutorial: Part 3 - Finishing the Top

Finally, Part 3 of the Hexy Stars tutorial...
See this post for the finished quilt and the introduction to this tutorial. This part covers piecing the Hexy's together, and finishing the top.


Start by trimming off the dog-ears, which are the "pointy" parts hanging over the sides of the hexagons.

When finished all 6 sides will look even.

For piecing the hexy stars together, you'll need to mark each of the 6 corners 1/4" from the edge, forming an "x" in each corner.  I used the same fabric marker mentioned in Part 1.

Begin a stack of trimmed and marked hexagons....

And, continue until all hexagons are finished.

Next, layout the hexagons on the floor in 8 rows of 6, as shown.  I made sure that the colors were evenly distributed and that 2 of the same diamonds were not next to each other, etc.  Just lay them out how you like them!


Next up is piecing the rows of hexagons together.  I started with 2 hexagons and placed a pin through the points of both, as shown below.  Then, I placed 2 more pins on both sides of that pin to keep it from moving when sewing.  

It is very important to start and stop 1/4" away from the edges when piecing these together, which is the center of the "x" that you marked above. 

When sewing I removed the center pin, but left the other 2 in place and sewed over them.  I know you aren't supposed to probably do that - but, that's what I did.  I just sewed very slow over the pins to avoid breaking needles, and had no problems.

Ensure that your points match up well.  If not, rip out the seam, pin, and try again!  (I only had to do this on a couple! Thank God!)

Then, press the the seam open on the back.

Continue this same process to form a row of 6 hexagons (or 5 hexagons and 2 half-hexagons).

Complete all 8 rows.  


I followed the same process to sew the rows together.  I matched up the one hexagon section with the opposing hexagon section of the other row.  I pinned through the center point of those two sections to match the points well.  I used 2 more pins on both sides of the center and then one at the end of each section to keep it lined up well since there is a bit more bulk.   

Sew one section at a time by starting and stopping 1/4" away from the edge - or at the "x".  Then, move on to the next section until the rows are completely pieced together.  I found it easiest to fold the completed sections, as you can see in the photo.  It helped line up the next section better.

Use this process to piece together the remaining rows.  I sewed rows 1 to 2, 3 to 4, 5 to 6, 7 to 8 - then 1/2 to 3/4, 5/6 to 7/8 - and finally 1/2/3/4 to 5/6/7/8.  The order doesn't really matter though....


I decided to square off my quilt and add a border.  I used some extra white background diamonds and sewed one into each "zig-zag" on the bottom and top of the quilt.  Then, I just trimmed the top and bottom so they were straight, and 1/4" away from points of the star.

I added an 8" teal border to all sides.  I wanted to make the quilt a little larger, but I think it would like nice without a border too.  

I had it quilted, added the binding - and that's all!  

And, that completes the Hexy Stars tutorial!  I hope these directions are somewhat understandable!  Please let me know if you have any questions.  Good Luck! ;)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Hexy Stars Tutorial: Part 2 - Forming the "Hexi-Stars"

Continuing right along to Part 2 of the Hexy Stars tutorial...
See this post for the finished quilt and the introduction to this tutorial. This part covers adding the background diamonds and forming the hexagons.


Start by placing a white background diamond over one diamond in the star.

(sorry about the busy background fabric here - don't know what I thinking!)

Flip the star over, and sew along the edge of the diamond.  I found it easier to start on the left side of the photo below - 1/4" in from the edge - and stitch towards the pointy side stopping 1/4" from the end.  Backstitch at the beginning and end of your stitches.  

Then, fold the white diamond to match it to the other diamond that is part of the star (the red diamond in these photos).  Stitch from left to right (in photo below) - starting and stopping 1/4" away from the edges.  

Press the white diamond away from the star.

(Sorry, horrible and blurry photo!)

And, then press the seams open on the back.  I burned my fingers a time or two pressing the seams open - so be careful!

I probably got a little carried away with spray, but I always sprayed the seams every time I needed to press them open.  It just helped things stay put - and not stretch when piecing.

Continue adding the 5 other diamonds using the same method and rotating around the star.  When finished it will look like this from the top:

And on back:

Repeat until all stars have the background diamonds added to form hexagons.  The 8 half stars should be handled exactly the same - except you'll have to trim the excess white diamond fabric off to line up the edges.  The half-stars should look like this when finished.

When complete, you should end up with 44 hexagons and 8 half-hexagons.

Continue along to Hexy Stars Tutorial - Part 3!!