Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Kids Art to Greeting Cards

Does anyone else have a hard time figuring out gift ideas for their parents?!
This year I think I finally hit upon a fabulous idea for our mom!
She is an avid letter writer; as in the handwritten, slow mail variety.
So when I came up with this idea I was feeling pretty smitten with myself. :)

 When the finished product arrived in the mail I was even more happy!
  How can any grandma not like greeting cards made from her grandkid's drawings?!
It's genius, I tell you! :)

Here's what I did:
I took my kids' drawings from the art wall
Scanned them into my computer as a jpeg.img
Did a little editing in Picasa
Uploaded them to Shutterfly
And made them into blank greeting cards for her to use.

All of the pictures were originally 8 x 10 or larger,
but thankfully I didn't encounter any problems with distortion when they were printed.

I had them made on the 4 x 6 sized cards (I think they're actually bigger than that!) which will work perfectly for mom's letters!

In fact I am already thinking about a second series for her... maybe for Mother's Day.

P.S. For the record, Shutterfly has no idea who I am!  I am just a girl trying to make beautiful things for myself and my family.  I have used Shutterfly's services before (for photo books, address labels, and Christmas cards) and have been extremely happy with their products.  

Monday, December 26, 2011

My own Grandma Quilt

Our family is heading south this week to Nebraska to visit family.  Can't wait to get out of town.  One of the things I am taking with me to show off is my Grandma quilt.  M.I.N.E.  After all the other quilts I've made using Grandma's shirts (#s 1-3 and # 4), I finally got mine completed and couldn't be happier. 

Based on this style, I put those HSTs to work and I L.O.V.E. how they turned out.

I sent it to Emily's quilter and she did a beautiful job.  Thank you, Lynn!
It really just makes me so happy. 
Merry Christmas to me.  I wrapped it up and put it under the tree, even though everyone in my family had already seen it.

  • Finished dimensions 57 inches by 67 inches.
  • Cut 1 1/2" strips of red/blue floral for inner border
  • Cut 2" strips of white for outer border
  • Thrifted striped chambray sheet for backing (about $3)
  • Binding made from the red/blue floral fabric Grandma had in her sewing room--the consensus is we think she had plans for it to make a new apron.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

I Spy a pair of quilts

Emily and I participated in a fabric swap with Sew in Peace the first part of October.  This was the first time that I've done a fabric swap like this.  It was SO MUCH FUN!! 

I ended up with enough squares to make 2 1/2 "I Spy" quilts.  It was great!
Quilt #1
With part of the fabric squares I made a quilt for our 4 yr. old nephew for his Christmas present. (We draw family names).

5" cut blocks
9 blocks across
11 blocks down
3 borders--blue cut 2" strips, white cut 1 1/2" strips, orange cut 3" strips
Thrifted striped sheet for the backing (His favorite color is blue)
Blue from the stash for the binding.

One of the most fun parts for me is that we put together a laminated "I Spy" list for him and sent along with the quilt.  That way he can have his mom and dad help him hunt for items. 

My kids had fun too looking for different items to put on his list before we wrapped it up and sent it off.

Quilt #2
which was more like "I Spy on the fly".

I had more than enough squares to make another quilt and decided my 6 yr. old son could use a bigger blanket than the one he currently loves.  After doing 9 rows by 11 rows I added another row to make it slightly bigger.

He also informed me during this process that his favorite color is red.  I was thinking of an orange backing at first.  Red shouldn't surprise me too much since the only shirt he will wear to church is a red plaid button down.  He has about 4 different red plaid shirts (all very similar looking) but it is the same one every week.

Anyway, I originally thought I would add a larger border on the top and work in the words "I Spy" to his quilt.  I had found the book "Word Play Quilts" by Tonya Ricucci at the library and thought that would be a fun idea to make his quilt a little different.  I started doing it and then it just wasn't doing it for me.  I had already attached part of the border and even though I had enough fabric to make a larger one, laziness and a bit of a time crunch set it in and so I didn't pick it off and just added the wider border at each end.  I wanted to make sure the quilt would be long enough for more than 5 minutes of a growth spurt.

I love the back with the strips inserted--love those pyschedelic frogs.
He also is getting an "I Spy" list to hunt for objects.

5" cut squares
10 rows across
11 rows down
3" cut orange border
3" cut red border
6"cut top and bottom red polka dot border.
Red plaid thrifted sheet for backing and binding.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Harley Twins

My brother-in-law is a Harley guy.  He's owned one since 1989, or so.  
Over the years he's been on countless H.O.G. rides, visited lots of places, and collected many souvenir t-shirts along the way. 

Last year he asked me if I would take all his shirts (he had somewhere in the range of 45!) and turn them into a quilt (or two...).  I agreed on the condition that there was no real time limit for completion.  So, after letting them stew for most of the year, I am happy to show you the finished quilts (with some quick/not-so-pretty pix)! 
Quilt #1 is made with the shirts from most of his rides.

Quilt #2 is made up of his international shirt collection and various others.

 It's must be written somewhere in the laws of Harley ownership, that you can't be a "real" rider/owner without visiting Sturgis at least once in your life.
Here is his ownership certificate... :)
The Beloved Sturgis Shirt

 I found these awesome sheet sets to use as the backing fabric (though I had to add the borders)!!  Seriously worth the money for a project like this.  I think he will love that little touch.

Both quilts are generous twin sized  at 75" by 90".

P.S. My husband earned serious bonus points during this project by ironing the pellon on ALL the shirts for me!!!  It was a huge help, for sure.  He's a keeper! :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Friday, December 9, 2011

Self Portraits Quilt

On Monday we're delivering this quilt to my daughter's 3rd grade teacher.
She knows it is coming--it was somewhat of a commissioned project. 
She plans to hang it, as art, in her classroom near her "peace table".
I think she will be more than happy with it.

I know I am pleased with how it turned out. 
(These pics don't do it justice, but the lighting in my house stinks and it was all of 7 degrees outside when we took these.)

A big thanks to all the families who contributed so that I could have Emily's quilter quilt it for us.  She did a fantastic job and included some stars into the stitching (to match the starfish backing).  Much better quilting than I could've done.

Finished dimensions 63" square
Cut 3" sashing/border pieces
Cut 10" blocks for the portraits
Thrifted striped sheet for the binding

This shows the colors much better.

I can't wait 'til Monday.  B. asked me if she could use the quilt until then.  Hmmm.....maybe one time while watching T.V. 

You can go here to get a little bit more info on the quilt and how it all came about.

I'm also including this quote/poem from Loren Eiseley

While wandering a deserted beach at dawn, stagnant in my work, I saw a man in the distance bending and throwing as he walked the endless stretch toward me.  As he came near, I could see that he was throwing starfish, abandoned on the sand by the tide, back into the sea.  When he was close enough I asked him why he was working so hard at this strange task.  He said that the sun would dry the starfish and they would die.  I said to him that I thought he was foolish.  There were thousands of starfish on miles and miles of beach.  One man alone could never make a difference.  He smiled as he picked up the next starfish.  Hurling it far into the sea he said, "It makes a difference for this one."  I abandoned my writing and spent the morning throwing starfish.                                                                                                

 linking up to Fabric Tuesday

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Quilt Club Gifts

Today is my quilt club.  My favorite day of every month!
For December we do a little gift exchange.

I was having a hard time deciding what to do/buy until Leslie suggested fabric. Duh!
  So, I raided my stash made each of them a charm square packs.
I didn't want to scare them with my usual color pallet so I went with black and whites.
I figured no one would be too put off  with that combo!  :)

And who knows. maybe it'll be the start of another challenge! (like this and this)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Recycling T-Shirts

I've been wanting to recycle our old t-shirts into something useful for awhile now.
Here's what I've rescued from the giveaway pile thus far...

Of course I'm thinking a quilt. 
Haven't decided if I'm going to use ALL the colors in the stack above, or do some editing. 
What do you think?

I'm starting after the first of the year. 
Anyone else want to join me?
If so, start raiding your closets!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tree Pants

After having the same green velvet Christmas tree skirt that I've had for I don't remember how many years, I decided I'd like a new one.  I found this pattern for tree "pants" (square not round) back in October, but didn't make it until a week or so ago sometime. (At this time of year time just all blends together with school activities and other projects.)

Very easy pattern and very fun.
I sort of did a combo of the Red/White version with some scrappy fabric that I already had. 

 I wish I had had more of this print.  I think I would've used it for all of the stars had there been enough.  Instead I did plain red solid, green on green print, and the multi-print for the stars.

My kids were very excited to put it around the Christmas tree when we got out all the decorations and got serious about the holidays.

Now on to pajama bottoms.....

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Scrap-Tastic Finish

Got my Scrap-Tastic quilt back from the quilter last week.  Yay!

Thanks to the long weekend I was able to spend some quality time with the fam watching movies and working on hand stitching the binding.  Love when I can combine my sewing time with family time.  Makes me feel less guilty about my hobby, ya know?!

My girls were pretty funny, though.  They kept asking when I was going to be done... Like it was a speedy process or something.  At one point the youngest plopped herself right next to me, legs on top of my lap, all the while pulling the blanket closer to her chin the more I'd sew.   

The minute the last stitch was put in my older daughter jumped up from the couch and said "I want to use it!".   She promptly took it back to her spot on the couch and curled up for the rest of the afternoon. 

So here it is in all it's crazy scrappy glory! 
I should've named it "Everything But The Kitchen Sink" because there is seriously every kind of fabric in it--the good, the bad, and the extremely ugly!  Even some squares from a bloggy friend.  (Thanks anonymous friend!)
I love it in all it's craziness!! 

 For the back I chose to use solids.  
There was SOOO much going on on the front that I thought the back needed to be less chaotic.  

Here is a shot of the quilting detail.    
 Not my normal taste for quilting, but for some reason I'm liking it on this one.  Who would've guessed...

Finished measurement 70" by 98"
Block directions from imagingermonkey here and here

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Shirtwaist Dress--Mock Ralph Lauren

Here is a new dress I made myself after purging my closet a few weeks back.

View C with View A ruffle added
Fabric--Ralph Lauren chambray sheet from the Thrift store--about $4.00
Lengthened about 9 inches.

Super comfy.
Love all the topstitching.
And even though my style is usually more tailored I love the little ruffle.

Linking up to Quilt Story.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Mincemeat Cookies

You know how as moms we disguise food so that our children will eat certain items--usually veggies.  i.e. broccoli pureed and put into spaghetti sauce for example.  This is our longest running family food secret to date.  I'm sure of it.

Our youngest brother is turning 30 this week. 
Mom, it's time to let Nate know the truth.
I think he can handle it.
He's married and has 2 kids.
He really is a big boy now.

For years, our Mom swore the remaining 5 of us siblings to secrecy about these cookies. 
Nate loves them! 
Probably one of his favs. 
But she never told him what was in them.
She always called them "spice" cookies.
Well, it is true, there are spices in them.
But that's not all....

Mincemeat Cookies
Cream together:
  • 3/4 c. butter, softened
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 1 beaten egg
Sift together and then add to above:
  • 2 1/2 c. sifted flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 c. mincemeat
  • 1/2 c. chopped nuts (optional)  Oh how I wish I could put nuts in mine, but about half my family complain about them.  Bummer!
Blend together thoroughly.  Drop by spoonful on greased cookie sheet.
I also usually take a glass w/ flour on the bottom and flatten out the spoonful a bit so it ends up being more round, not mounded.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes.

Let cool slightly then drizzle glaze over top of each cookie.

1 c. powdered sugar
2 tsp. melted butter
1 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbs. milk


Then watch your youngest brother eat them all up and smile to yourself because you know the truth. 
Happy B-day Nate!

***And by the way, my kids know what's in them, and they LOVE them besides the fact they know what's in them...i.e. green tomatoes and raisins.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Kindergarten Handprint Quilt--Finished

Let me just say that a little OCD can be a beautiful thing.
Remember when I started this quilt back the first part of November for my youngest's kindergarten class?

Here is the finish

Once I got the idea on how to put this quilt all together it just sort of ran away with me and I didn't want to work on any of my other projects.  (And there are plenty of others...)

Thrifted striped sheet for the backing.

On opposing corners I had to make an additional 9 patch because there were only 22 kids. 
C. kept telling me I needed to go get 2 more handprints, but I like how this worked out in the end.

Raided the stash for the binding fabric.
Love how it worked with the fabrics, and there was JUST enough
to piece together so that I didn't have to go buy anything else.

Later this week I'll go take a pic with all the kids and their teacher.

  • Cut 8" white blocks--22
  • Cut 3" squares for 9 patch blocks---26 blocks total using 236 - 3" squares.
  • 6 blocks across and 8 down.
  • Added 3" cut strips for outside border in marbled blue.
  • Finished dimensions: 50 1/2 by 64 1/2 inches.
Linking up at Quilt Story.

    Friday, November 11, 2011

    Quilt Club Challenge Quilt #2

    While I'm off enjoying some much needed R & R with the hubs this weekend (yay!) I'll share with you my 2nd quilt club challenge quilt.  It's a crazy one! 

    When I first showed Leslie what I was going to do she was like, "Whoa, That's one crazy quilt -- Like mad hatter crazy!"  The name has stuck so I'm calling it The Mad Hatter.    

    The story behind it is similar to my other one.  But this is the quilt club challenge from the previous year.  The ladies were given a stack of florals (again, cut from one of the club members own stash).  By the time I entered the group everyone had mostly gotten their quilts finished.  I was given an "Oh, here's some floral squares for you!" stack of leftovers.  Again, didn't love the fabrics, so they sat and sat while I figured what the heck I was going to do with them. 

    When I saw this... 
    Photo from Quilt Magazine 2010
    I knew I'd found my inspiration! 
    It is a Kaffe Fassett quilt that graced the cover of Quilt Magazine in June/July 2010.  While I am generally not a big fan of his (Sorry Kaffe lovers!) I knew my florals could take on this same look and be awesome in their ugliness.  

    I think my cheap-o, knock-off, quilt club challenge version is a pretty good one, don't you?

    Updated: You can view the finished quilt HERE


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