Monday, April 23, 2012

Felt Badges Everywhere!!!

Felt Badges, what can I say about them?! They are absolutely AWESOME!!!
And now you are asking, "Where did this love of felt badges come from?" Well, I recently participated in another Swap on Craftster all about felt badges.

The rules were simple. It had to be between 2 - 3" on all sides when finished and it could be made from any type of felt. Also you mailed it with the bad empty, meaning no magnet or pin back so that your partner could finish it and use it however they wanted.
You only had to have one partner but of course I opted for two! My first partner liked flowers, and the words "believe", "faith", and I'm quite sure "love." I decided I would use wool blend felt because it just blends and holds so much better on detailed work like this than the type you pick up from your local craft store.
I chose to incorporate "Believe" and a simple potted flower. This is under 3 inches and the flowers have just a simple glass seed bead in the middle. When you put them close together they just "bunch" naturally and look beautiful!

My second partner wanted something to incorporate her work with the Girl Scouts and she had a second theme of nature and gardening and flowers... and after having so much fun with the top flowers I decided I would place a flower garland beneath a Girl Scout emblem.
This was what I came up with! I made it round like a Scout badge and added a few leaves to come off the bottom of the garland. She still hasn't posted yet about receiving it, but I have a feeling she is really going to like it!

I think the best part about these little badges is that they work up really quickly and you n do so much with them. People have turned them into pins or incorporated them into wall hangings by making more or even simple magnets for their fridges! Below is the first badge I've received! I wanted something to show off my love of bumble bees! And my dear partner pjherbert really came through! I am not really sure what I will finish him off to be.... For now he is just buzzing around my refrigerator!

All the wool used in mine was from a scrap pack I bought at my local quilt shop, The Country Loft. It was only $1.25! And I still have a lot left over to make more badges. You can also always find it through Etsy shops as well.

I challenge you to try making 1 or 100! They would make great gift tags or ornaments... Or even a little extra to mail in a letter! So have fun! They are addictive!

Quilt Piecing and Chicken on a Warm Spring Day

I knew it was going to be a warm day when I headed out for my usual Tuesday morning 5 mile run around the lake with my friends. As we ran the sun was beating down and the crisp breeze had been replaced with a warm wisp.

We meet every Tuesday and Thursday at the same place, same time. We always talk about trying someplace new, but the 5 mile loop is just so easy now. Nothing new and always the same.
Today as we ran and talked about just everyday things, my mind kept straying to the thought of fabric and sewing. I was daydreaming of quilting and it has been that way for days!

So when I got home I opened up the house to the lovely warmth of Spring and it began warming up our household. I got out the crock pot... probably for one of the last times until the fall and put in one of my favorites... 4 chicken breasts and a jar of salsa... yup that's it! It cooks on low for 6 hours and after 5 you put a fork in and break up the chicken... I can smell it all the way in the family room as I type this! Once it's ready we put it on tortillas with a little cheese and beans and we have this awesome salsa chicken burrito or taco! Try it! You'll like it!

So back to the quilt piecing , now that your taste buds are watering! It's hard to get back...

I should start by saying, "Join a Quilters Guild!" I mean it, the talent and care these women show is just infectious! I left there wanting to be a better quilter! I just wanted to be a quilter.  So Sunday I bought some fat quarters and decided to get to work! I had just checked out a book from the library entitled, "1000 Great Quilt Blocks." I opened it up and just picked out a few easier blocks and a few challenging ones.... Needless to say I have been quilting up a storm!

This is the book and you can get a copy by clicking Here. This will take you to an Amazon shop where you can find a copy! Or you might just be able to find it in your local library like I did!

The blocks I made above weren't perfect. And they did take a lot of time because I was trying to be just so precise! They (whoever "they" are) say practice makes perfect and well I am going to just keep on practicing!

This was a second attempt. I added the white border so that I can now turn it into a 14" pillow form! Keep your eyes peeled for it to turn up on my Etsy shop!

I have to admit when just looking at the pictures they look nearly perfect! Ha ha, but that golly darn perfectionist in me is still not pleased enough!!! At least the chicken will come out perfect!

And now I am off to continue to feed the need to become a better quilter, by improving my piecework... Until next time....

Thursday, April 12, 2012

If At First You Don't Succeed ... Try, Try Again!

So, I tried making this cover bag from Stitch magazine. It seemed easy enough.... And it was reversible! So I thought it wouldn't take that long right?! Only 3 pattern pieces and I'm not a horrible sewer... Boy did this one get me! But I don't want it to discourage you from trying... I already have the fabric to try again! And I am looking forward to it ... I think! Ha, ha...

After cutting out all the pieces and having to run to the fabric store a 2nd time because I didn't cut it exactly right the first time, and buy more interfacing because I don't think their instructions were for normal bolt interfacing... Oh and the best part was when I was looking for the fabric, they almost didn't have it. Then when I found it, there was just enough left! 

At this point it was starting to fall apart for me... Ha, ha... I had never done pleats so I think that added to the stress!
But when I completed mine I couldn't really reverse it and have it look the same on either side. I omitted the handmade button detail and realized I probably needed to add them or something else to hide the attachment of the handles.

I know it doesn't look bad and it is very nice. I think as crafters, we sometimes forget that the imperfections of our work make it perfect! It reminds us from time to time that it's OK to not be perfect. And as a wife and mom I have to take that same outlook into my everyday life. I'm not always going to do everything perfect on the first try. But more importantly than that, it doesn't mean anyone else is going to notice! Sometimes we are just too hard on ourselves! So even though I am not cutting out the pattern again just yet, I know I am going to give it a second try! ... Maybe that goes for thinking about having another child! Ha ha!!!

Scrappy Fabric Pillow Fun!

Fabric scraps have been on my mind lately! I NEEDED to find a way to start using some of them. And well with Spring Cleaning beginning I thought what a wonderful way to CLEAN up some of my fabric!

This was really fun and easy to make! It took me a few days, only because in between playing with Abby and taking care of the house I was trying to sew and come up with a design that used only the limited amount of fabric I had with the print on it! The print came from a 1lb scrap bag I bought from Quilt Fabric Closeouts for get this, $1.50!! Then I purchased the brown linen from Jo-Ann's, on sale of course! And there's enough for another small pillow!

First, I evened out the strips and cut them into more manageable pieces.

Next, my favorite part! I sit down with a fresh cup of coffee and some tunes off Pandora and start piecing the strips together using a 1/4" seam.

As I piece it together I press the seams open on the back. Once all pieced together, I even out the edges this is what I was left with. Which was beautiful all on it's own! It measured about 10x12".

Now for the creative part! I then cut 2 1/2" squares from the scrap piece and had 12, then pieced it with the brown linen to create my patchy pillow cover! I cut the brown linen in 2 1/2" squares with 4x2 1/2" and 8x2 1/2" strips.
Once it was all pieced together I line it with an additional piece of linen. And with this pillow I sandwiched a piece of batting in between and quilted it to give it a bit of a plushier look!

I also had some extra scraps left over from cutting out my squares and used them to just "scrappy" applique 2" squares on the top flap and also attach a long strip of it on the bottom piece.
Here is a closeup of the what I like to call "Scrappy" applique because I use a shorter zig zag but not as close as an applique zag.

I used 1/4" in seams with the piecing but when actually sewing the pillow together I cut the pieces so that the actual pillow has a 1/2" seam allowance. That way if somehow my piecing comes out a little wrong, which it has before... I still have enough fabric to make the pillow the right size with that larger seam allowance at the end!

And when you're done you have a beautiful pillow!