Friday, October 28, 2011

Treats and Tricks

   Hallelujah, the exterior of my house has been cleaned. There was so much rain and we have so many trees that there was an unattractive glaze of mildew on the house. The nicest Martin went over the house and garage with Clorox, inch by inch. and I put up a wreath to celebrate.
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   For the goblins, I am putting out a mad dog, giant rat and a spider will top a bush. We have been "Boo-ed" and have hung ghosts in the window to show this. Now off to "Boo" others, for I have purchased my candy and am armed!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Close the windows at Halloween: a Journal Quilt Connection 12 x 12

    A Halloween theme was chosen by my Journal Quilt Connection group for October. I had just returned from Texas and was thinking wide open spaces and big skies. I found the "Attic Window" block pattern for that. Several patterns and ways of creating it are on-line.

    I had dropped in at JoAnn's Fabric just to see what is new to find there were many exotic fabrics for Halloween. I bought small pieces of each and mailed fragments to the grandchildren. I decided my 12" x 12" attic windows were too garish alone, and placed these skulls atop the block. Perhaps I should sew them down, but I like the way the fabric floats or ripples like ghosts coming in the windows. It is Halloween, of course, but I had age and memento mori's on the mind :*)

    The following quotation appeared at Rayna's blog (click to visit where you may subscribe by e-mail) and it spells out what happened in the making:

Philip RothWhat I have in mind when I start to write could fit inside an acorn -- an acorn, moreover, that rarely if ever grows into an oak.  Write fiction and you relinquish reason.  You start with an acorn and you end up with a mackerel.  Unfortunately, my workday does not support the argument for a universe of "intelligent design."  Chance and staying power.  That's the hand that imagination's dealt. 

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Round Robin medallion: a rough start

    Ann said it is fun to make a round robin quilt. There might be five in a group of quilters. Each makes a center piece. Each month or so, this quilt block is passed to another person to add to the top of a future quilt, usually winding around the medallion in the center. Until the quilt is finished, the originator of the quilt, the medallion maker, will not see the quilt. The five centers and each month's new additions to the quilt, an addition in the round, will grow the quilt. After several months there will be a medium size or large quilt to be returned to the owner to have batting and backing added, and quilting finished. Each of the five quilters will have the beginnings for a larger quilt as well as some interesting interactions and discoveries.

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      We were told the center piece should be on-point, so a design or subject should be in a diamond format. The following are my first two efforts at my medallion. It would help to be a more experienced quilter; and next time, I hope to be more adventuresome to make a more personal image...home or flora! I may have to doctor these with some fabric paint.

       Actually, I started a trompe l'oeil image, a window box, but I have to finish it to see if it would work. But then, Fall is so busy!

       Credit: Whenever I am stumped for block pattern, I can count on finding one at Marcia Hohn's fabulous Quilters' Cache with a zillion free quilt patterns and instructions. Visit it:

Monday, October 17, 2011

Posting Pumpkins: fabric postcards for the mail

     October is beautiful outside and a time to be with friends. To touch those far away, there is the fabric postcard. Still having withdrawal from a great get-together with childhood chums in Texas, I was having trouble getting back to quilting. But I bit the bullet and sat down to make these small quilts.

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    If you click to enlarge the photo, you will see the only quilting is around the edges and down the center. I made these 7 quilted postcards by cutting fronts, backs, and flannel or batting to a size of 4 1/2" x 6 1/2." The proper postcard size will be 4" x 6." Next, I stamped the back fabric with an old Post Card stamp. You could write "Post Card" with a fabric marker as you will the address and notes.

      I put the front and back face to face atop the batting and stitched all around 1/4" from the edge, leaving two inches on one end open to turn. I then snipped off corners and turned the pieces. I ironed the "cards" turned, and once again stitched all around the edges, only this time, closing off. Feeling I should quilt a bit, I took a fancy stitch on my sewing machine to make the line down the middle and it was OK on the front. I could have quilted more before sewing the pieces together. Where the light string hit the black, I used a black Sharpie....and an orange Sharpie on the pumpkin.

        Tomorrow, I will address, add a message, and take the Postcards to the Post Office for stamps and hand canceling. I do not put the postcards in an envelope, and they have always arrived at their destination. I like the soft quilt version, but you can use Timtex or other products for a stiffer version. YouTube also has videos on the subject.

         Type "postcard" into the Search space at the top left to see earlier fabric postcards I have made.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Fortunes for the fabric cookie

     Yesterday I posted about the snap bags I made and the fabric fortune cookies without their "fortunes."
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     Today I printed "fortunes" to printable fabric. Although you can iron fabric onto freezer paper and carefully run it through your printer, I used Printed Treasures, Sew-On Inkjet Fabric Sheets which are colorfast and washable.

      I used my Comic Life to print the short "fortunes" and after peeling the back off the fabric, rinsing off any excess ink and drying, I used a rotary cutter to cut the strips.

      After playing around with the cookies, I sewed the strip onto the cookie exactly where I had joined the fold yesterday. Look at these photos and then look at yesterday's posting by scrolling down. Now to mail them to Patsy.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Fabric Fortune Cookies: a quick craft

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    These fortune cookies are very easy to make. I found several tutorials on-line. Lady Harvatine's appealed to me most.This site by Shannon has a video of turning the cookie out.

    Essentially, I looked at all the tutorials I could find, Googling "fabric fortune cookie." Then I looked at Images to see what sort of fabrics I preferred.  I chose the easiest and most sensuous shapes. I took a cracker can that had about a 5" diameter and traced around the base with a permanent marker. I cut out freezer paper circle and ironed them onto fabric that had been spray basted to felt. Next I cut out the felt backed circles, then sewed about 1/2 inch in from the edge. I then took pinking shears and cut about 1/4 inch from the sewn circle. All that was left to do was to fold the piece in half, inside (felt) out. I sewed about an inch in the middle, touching neither the fold nor the stitched edge. I could then put my thumbs in under the folds on each side to open up the outside of the fortune cookies to give them shape. Click on both photos to see more.

     I need to find some good fortunes about friendship or simply insert fabric or paper fortune strips suggesting BFF Best Friends Forever. Or, I could let people write up a bunch of fortunes to put in a bowl to draw out or insert in a cookie and then let the cookies be drawn.

Snap Bag marathon: assembly line construction

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   This coming Thursday, many best friends are gathering; and I wanted to make something for each. I don't know if I will mail or deliver. If you remember, I posted on September 16 my excitement about these handy items, useful in purses but mainly witty pieces that pull open by tabs and close with a snap, thanks to cut up metal measuring tapes. At that post there are links to tutorials.
   I learned so much working in assembly-line fashion: One can make in two days what took a day to make one originally. I learned to use smoke invisible thread but to make sure the spool is a certain shape, for a regular spool is a nightmare. A spray glue was important to make the tabs hold shape so I did this outside and kept the black "patent leather" tabs under weights. I finally figured correct settings for zig-zag satin seams and the use of permanent markers to tone down problems. Most exciting, I found I could free-motion quilt with a regular walking foot and go 10 times as fast in the quilting, zooming and looping around.
   Now to get to work on the fabric fortune cookies for the BBF (Best Friends Forever) tags!