Fun Little Project!

Merry Christmas, or Happy Hanukah or Seasons Greetings, take your pick. Personally I celebrate Christmas, so that’s always my first thought this time of year.

Well, I still have December’s monthly block quilt to create, but I do have it planned out. I didn’t bring it with me, so that will have to come together when I get back to my sewing machine!

But when I finally finished my customer quilts with a Christmas due date, I had a bit of time to do something FUN.

Blueberry Pie Hot Pad

Blueberry Pie Hot Pad

My friend at the quilt shop the weekend before had shown me a photo of a fruit pie potholder she was going to make for some gifts (sorry, I’m sharing this a little late for that, probably). I immediately fell in love with the idea and had to take it on as well. I bought the rick rack and berry fabric and when I had that bit of time I went to it.

The photo shared with me had a pie tin (silver fabric) along the outside, creating a circle edge. I didn’t love the look of that, so I did it my own way. I took a pie tin and cut out a circle of the berry fabric and cut a 9″ square of batting and Insulbright. I used a scrap piece of tan fabric for the back that was large enough to put up on my long arm machine (because that’s how I roll yo).

I had these scraps of marble fabric in a gold color, which matched the rick rack (too light and the pie would have looked unbaked). I trimmed them to as large as I could, and sewed them wrong sides together to make a long tube. I ironed the seam open so it was on the bottom side and then cut the tube and made lattice on the top of the pie. I then wove the lattice and set it in positions I thought it looked tasty.

And then I pinned it. I hate pinning. I put it on the long arm and did a little wavy line within each piece of crust on the lattice on each side of the lattice to keep it down.

Then I trimmed my pie and (ugh) pinned again so the binding was folded over from back to front, twice so the raw edge was hidden completely. Sewed that down.

Then I had to pin (GRRRRRR) the rick rack on top and I zig zag stitched that down, and then straight stitched the inner edge of it down too. I stitched over the raw edge of it where the rick rack came together and BOOM done.

That’s it!

I’m so addicted to this cuteness that I bought THREE yards of this plum fabric to make more!

Plum fabric

Plum fabric

I can get my hands on cranberries, raspberries and I found mixed berry fabric online. It’s harder than you’d think to find fruit fabric without stems, peels or background print! I’ll be making more of these for some craft shows and you will DEFINITELY see them in my Etsy store sometime soon!

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Baking. Well, sort of…

I’m not truly much of a baker. While I am meticulous about certain things being just so, that’s not at all the case when I’m in the kitchen. Countless times I’ve been asked to share a recipe that I cannot recreate because I didn’t measure anything when I was making it.

Regardless, I make my efforts and do love to create in the kitchen. So when I found this blog I was immediately HOOKED! I actually stumbled across it on Facebook somewhere, but perusing through her recipes is a daily delight. Please, give yourself a treat and check it out!

I’ve also discovered another bake shop, only this one deals with fabric, not flour. It’s a fun place to play, shop and find new things to make. The Moda Bakeshop has a bakery, measurement charts, free patterns for just about any fabric project, tips and even options to submit your own recipe! It’s a fun place to look through and you may find yourself wandering around the site like a culinary specialty store, unable or unwilling to leave.

Happy browsing my friends!

To Embellish or Not To Embellish

When I think of embellishments, I think of jewelry, or bling. That is the most common form of embellishing, oneself or one’s clothing. Just about anything can be embellished, and in the world of quilts, oftentimes art quilts are the most heavily embellished. Quiltmakers often adorn their quilts with applique, embroidery or cross-stitching. Sometimes you will even see buttons, ribbon, beads, twine and other creative additions, especially on smaller, art quilts.

I’ve thought extensively about embellishing my quilts, but what holds me from it is that I generally make larger quilts that are warm and snuggly, or baby quilts for the crib. I don’t think adding something small and hard would make those quilts better.

Although, large quilts can certainly be embellished. This was the Texas Department of Agriculture State Fair Quilt that was created from many individual block submissions by quilt makers.

I had the honor to quilt it (unfortunately quilting an embellished quilt can be VERY tricky). The embellishments definitely added to the beauty and depth of this piece. Check out these beautiful blocks below:

I added tassle-like acorns to the ends of a few table runners once, which completed the look. I did embellish one small quilt with an interesting binding. Pictured below, this pattern is called lemonade, and I made it in a miniature size, perfect as a table topper.

The other embellishment I did was on a mini wall hanging. The purpose of this quilt was solely visual pleasure, and I made it during a class on quilt weaving (I can expand on that later). I named it “Button Explosion”.

I did embellish these birdhouses like crazy, but I felt they needed it to become what I had imagined.

This is a picture of my embellishments bin.

You can see a number of clearance tags in there, because I usually build this inventory through clearance sales at local craft shops. I buy what jewelry, charms, stones, ribbon, patches, buttons, etc. that look interesting to me and just throw them in the box.

I think I just need to make the leap, and create a smaller, smaller-scale quilt that is meant to be hung on the wall and embellished to create a total artwork.

NOTE TO QUILT MAKERS: if you do intend to embellish your quilt, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do so AFTER the longarm quilting has been completed. Otherwise you risk having some beads that need reattachment.

Thank you for perusing my friends! Happy creating!!

Family Fun Crafts

I have always been sincerely devoted to doing things that are productive. Literally, anything I involved myself in had to have an outcome that achieved something, or produced something that I felt was valuable, usable or necessary in some fashion. My lesson has been learned, that there is much value in the actual act of artistic exertion as well as the visual pleasure gained upon completion of the project.

Recycled ToteBut, as an ode to the old me :), I am sharing this website, which has some great ideas that are in fact, productive. Some of the projects listed here are just fun, and some have a purpose that YOU may find useful! The one pictured above is one of my favorites! It’s made from those plastic grocery store bags!!!

Cardboard Petal Picture Frame

What I really love about this site is that there are constant updates to projects that mirror the season. We have searched for neat costumes to make at Halloween, Valentines handouts and boxes for notes and party ideas for Independence Day.

I hope you find some fun there, or if nothing else, perhaps some ideas  on how to keep your kids busy! Check out FamilyFun.Go.com!

Birdhouse Artwork

 

It took me some time to decide the appropriate name for this post. Really the idea is repurposing, but the idea is also to be creative with something simple and blank, by which we are continually surrounded. I have a current fascination with birdhouses, and am even adding quite a bit of decor around the subject to my previously empty shelves and walls.

over kitchen cabinets birdhouse decor

 
 

birdhouse decor

It’s amazing how little I paid for these items, seriously. I found many of these items at local (chain) craft stores, and a Goodwill store.

birdhouse decor

Some items required very minor repairs (the hanging above the door was missing something on the front, so I stuck a fabric butterfly sticker on it). Others were able to be used as is.

There is a project here, that can be done with your children.

naked

In fact, all of my projects seem to begin by my attempt to entertain my children. This one was no different.

We found these little birdhouses at Joann’s in a bin for $1 per!! The store also had larger models for around $5 each.

We stuck with the small version so we could buy a greater number to play around with.

When we got home, I don’t think we were in the door more than 38 seconds before Amy asked if she could start painting her houses. 

painted

I conceded, and she quickly broke out all the acrylic paints, brushes and trays.

It wasn’t much longer before I wanted to join in her fun. So we painted!!

It was fun to do together. After painting our houses, I took a break (you can see I didn’t even finish my red house) to do something in the kitchen. Probably making dinner…

painted and embellished

embellished house

Amy decided she wanted to continue decorating her houses, so I showed her where the glitter, jeweled and fabric butterfly and heart stickers were.

I loved her finished product! I was proud of her and decided to mount a shelf in the living room to showcase her artwork.

amy's painted houses

I had a little something different in mind as an end result, but Amy had creative license on her items, and wouldn’t allow me to touch her birdhouses. I completely respect that, so I had to finish painting my set and get to work on embellishing my own, in a similar manner to what she had done, but that’s where the similarities end.

I had envisioned a stack of these little houses, enveloped in various ribbons and charms, so I dug into my bucket of goodies (it is actually a bucket, filled with items I have found at chain craft stores on clearance, and includes buttons, chains, twine, ribbons, pins, patches and charms.

I used her glue stick and my needle nose pliers to wrangle the bits I wanted into place, and voila, my structure is complete. The most beautiful part of this project is that anyone can go to the craft shop and invest just a few dollars for at least an hour of fun with their kids. Your birdhouses will turn out as beautifully as you can dream them up to be. Just use your imagination!! Happy crafting!

finished structure