Saturday, October 29, 2011

Mug Rug Swap Adventure 3 - Halloween

This was fun to make today.  Background of orange cotton with a spider web lace overlay, black cotton cat free motion stitched onto back ground, button and bead spider embellishment, cotton print binding.   I found the cat in stencil form online and liked the look of it, but the tail stuck straight up and wouldn't work for this mug rug, so I cut the tail twice and pieced it back together with scotch tape at the angle that I needed. I used a sprinkling of bonding agent on the back of a piece of black fabric. Then I laid the pattern on top of my black fabric and carefully used my chalk pounce tool to powder over the image.  Lifting off the pattern I had a perfect outline of my cat to cut it out.  The cat was heat bonded to the background and then free motion stitched to create the "fur".   The spider is simply two buttons stacked one on top of the other, with tiny seed bead eyes and bugle bead legs all stitched on with black thread.

This little mug rug will be packed up today with some Halloween treats and mailed off to my partner, hope she likes it!

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The Blogger's Quilt Festival, My Entry Sapphire Star

Sapphire Star Front
 This is my contribution to the Blogger's Quilt Festival, an online quilt festival   What a wonderful way to share your work and to view the work of others, an opportunity for inspiration.

I am always amazed at the beautiful quilts that men and women create, each one is different and has the makers imprint on it.

Sapphire Star Back

This quilt top was originally started as a swap project for the Make Mine Modern swap on Flickr.  After getting the top posted and looking at it, relative to my partner's website, I made the decision that I needed to scrap this project and make something else that might be more to her liking.  Happy with the top, I decided to finish it for a local quilt show and at that point to create a backing that would be reflective of the top.  Both the top and the back are paper pieced.  The top is the Millennium Star pattern, taken from Peggy Martin's book Quick-Strip Paper Piecing and the backing is my own design which I created using my ElectricQuilt 6 software.  I have designed lots of blocks on my EQ6 but this was the first paper pieced block design and I was so delighted with how easy it was to execute and how precisely it all came out.  What I designed in the software exactly came out on my quilt!

When I finished the top and the back, I started auditioning binding fabrics, I didn't want something that would take away from the effect.   I wanted a sense of this being one star in the midst of the heavens.  We live in the forest in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada.  Each night my husband and I like to go out and get into our hot tub and stare up at the sky.  Because there are no lights to dim the sky, the stars look like you could reach out and touch them, some brighter and appearing closer than others and yet there are so many that you could not count them all.  This Sapphire Star is that bright star in the heavens, you notice it more than the others and yet you notice there are so many surrounding it.  In the process of auditioning fabrics, I decided to post my choices on Flickr and see what the "community" had to say about the different options.  That was an exciting process for me, a validation if you will of my selections and a wonderful assist in a direction that provided excitement to the binding.  They say too many cook spoil the soup, but in this case it was delightful to have that input.  Ultimately it would be my choice, but they confirmed the direction that I was leaning.

The online quilting experience for me has been a joyful eye opener.  Since we live remotely, it's not an option that I elect to join a quilting guild, driving back into town on a Monday night after working all day and coming home is not my idea of quilting fun.  So I have been missing that sense of community and inspiration that comes from participating in a guild.  Online bloggers and Flickr have filled that void and more, they have spurred my imagination and creativity into places that I would not normally explore, they have challenged me and helped me to stretch.  My skills have grown and I think that I have helped others as well, develop their skills and learn new techniques.  As a 58 year old woman, this has been a wonderful journey which I envision will continue for many years.  Where can you converse with someone on the other side of the world about a project that you are working on, or learn a new technique from's an amazing opportunity for growth.

So here I am, entering my little Sapphire Star into the Blogger's Quilt Festival, another leg on this journey!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Scrappy Mug Rug Swap

My swap partner got the package I sent.  It's so fun to know that someone is going to open up a little box of something that you put together.  I always get a thrill from the anticipation of waiting to see if they like what I have sent!  Almost more fun than receiving...I said, almost. :D

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Slap Bracelet Napkin Rings Tutorial

With the current Potholder Pass #9, we are exchanging little house potholders and coasters.  I have been wanting to make some Slap Bracelet Napkin Rings to go along with my exchanges, so here they are.  These are so quick and easy to make, you could change out your table in just minutes!  

MATERIALS:  Fabric strip 4" x 11.5"
                        Slap Bracelet  (Oriental Trading Company just put 
                                               slap bracelet in the search)
                        Thread, scissors, sewing machine

1.  Fold down one of the short ends of your fabric strip 1/2 inch and press.

2.  Fold your fabric in half, right sides together, long edges together.

3.  Stitch 1/4 to 1/3" depending on the width of your slap bracelet...along the raw edges, leaving the folded end open.
 4.  Turn your tube right sides out and use the blunt end of a bamboo skewer to gently push out the corners, press and you are ready to insert your slap bracelet.

5.  Insert your slap bracelet into your fabric sleeve and stitch shut across the end to close.

That's it, you are all done!  You can dress your table in minutes to suit your fancy!  And they will store flat in your drawer, just slap them around your napkin for instant decoration!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Fall Pumpkins

It's Fall, my favorite time of year.  I have been getting out all of the autumnal decorations and thinking about some new ones.  I saw this cute pumpkin blogged about here:  The Cottage Home  .  I put the link on my Face Book page, which is where I store links for quick referral and kind of forgot about it.  One of the gals that I work with came in to the office and low and behold, she had made several in different sizes.  They were absolutely too cute!  So this weekend, I decided I would make some for myself.  Instead of using heavy weight home dec fabric, I used cotton that I had on hand.   Instead of using felt leaves, I decided I liked the color of the silk leaves I had on hand.  Instead of using twine, I used raffia to tie the pumpkin segments, I had it on hand.  And yes, instead of the felt stems, I used pipe cleaners...yes, I had them on hand.  I just adapted the design to use what I had.  We live a half hour from town and I didn't want to drive in.  I think they turned out cute!

Tomorrow I will be making several more in different sizes...they go together in literally minutes and I think they would make a delightful centerpiece scattered down the middle of my table for Halloween and Thanksgiving!

Speaking of Thanksgiving, I want to express my thanks to all that remembered us in their thoughts and prayers this past month.  My husband was very ill and underwent two surgeries in less that 2 weeks.  It was a scary time but he is home from the hospital and making a full recovery.