Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Toasty Variation

My mom made these for the kidlets.

She used the Toasty pattern, but used smaller needles and made them with a cuff/border on the top and bottom, which is simply two inches of knit 1, purl 1. I say "simply" in regard to her, not me, since the knit projects that I've done are super simple. No counting, nothing complicated, and certainly no double-pointed needles! I am always impressed by the knitted items that others make.

Oh! Big news! We have a record number of cardinals at our feeder.

Six pairs!

Saturday, December 26, 2009


These were fun to make and very well received. These two sweeties love to cook together so I'm sure the aprons will be put to good use.

I used McCall's 5825 for Diedra's and traced a basic butcher's apron for Jamie's. I did my own thing with the pocket trim and did not line the top of the apron as was called for in the pattern. I did a flat felled seam on the seam that joins the top and skirt so there are no raw edges.

I hope your Christmas was full of fun and laughter and the enjoyment of being with people you love!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas is Almost Here!

I made some accessories to go with the purse that I made last night. A tissue cozy from this tutorial. A simple zippered pouch.

As an aside, I am reading Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. Have you read it? Written in 1953, but timeless. I'm not a SciFi reader but I am really enjoying this one. Well, I should say I'm enjoying reading it, the story can be unsettling and not particularly enjoyable. I actually felt like I could smell burning while I was reading it. Now that's the mark of a well-written book.

Aren't these fun? This is a set of Hallmark ornaments, a series. I hope you can see the detail. The cookies in the oven, the Santa and his Mrs. salt-and-pepper shakers, the set of mixing bowls, the cute utensils. Even a faux marble top on that table. This stays out all year in my kitchen so I had to blow the dust off of it.

Please take the time in the next few days to read the second chapter of Luke. A description of the miracle that brings hope to all mankind.

Have a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Monday, December 21, 2009

This Purse Again

The purse is reclining on my Eddie Bauer down throw. I love that thing! So cozy!

I just love this pattern! This is the 5th purse I've made using it, and I have fabric to make another one for myself.

This is the thickest fabric that I've used so far with this pattern and in some cases I was sewing through six layers plus the batting that I used to line the handle. I held my breath as I sewed toward the thick parts and my Bernina went through them like nothing! Up until now I hadn't worked on a project with thick fabrics, so my machine hadn't been put to that test. I was very very pleased, since I have memories of other machines jamming and groaning.

I have a couple of Christmas projects to finish up yet, are you all ready for Christmas?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Felt Food and Drink

Our sweet little niece had her birthday party, so now I can reveal her gift.

I googled "felt food" and looked over the images from the search results. I picked and chose which ones I was interested in making and made a grocery list so I would have the necessary colors to create the food.

I didn't make any patterns for the food, I just kind of worked my way through it, thinking about what certain foods look like. I used a machine blanket stitch to join layers and stuffed in leftover batting scraps as I went along.

I did, however, make a pattern for the felt drinks. I used very small plastic cups -- you can see the size when compared to my iron.

I slid a paper cone into the glass and trimmed until I had a pattern. Don't make the felt drinks fit too snugly inside the glass; you want to be able to slip them in and out easily. I didn't feel the need to make a top to the drink liquid (if this makes any sense) but I don't think it would be too difficult to make a circle and stitch it to the top.

I told my husband that it seems like many times I make toys that I would have enjoyed playing with when I was little. Not sure that criteria translates well to the current generation with the flashy plastic toys that are marketed to the little ones on TV. But I really did enjoy making this and it's fun to give something that isn't available in a store.

Be sure to visit Sew & Tell Fridays. Always some cute projects there on display!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Cardinal Pillow Pattern/Tutorial

Cardinal Pillow Pattern/Tutorial

Begin by using waxed paper (the kitchen/cooking type) to trace the cardinal body, wings, and black shaded portion of face. Use these waxed paper pattern pieces to cut the body and wings out of red felt and the face portion out of black felt. The wing pieces and the black face portion lie on top of the red cardinal body piece.

TIP FOR CUTTING OUT FELT PIECES: The best advice I ever got for cutting out small pattern pieces: Turn the piece you are cutting, don't turn your scissors. In other words, your right hand holding the scissors does not turn, your left hand turns the piece that you are cutting. Or vice versa if you are left-handed.

You should be able to print out the following picture and enlarge it on a photocopier to get the cardinal image to trace. I used a calendar photo.

Cut your branches out of strips of brown felt. Don't make perfectly cut strips -- bumpy-edged strips look more like real branches. You can cut straight strips out of the felt and still make some bends in the branches when you place it on your background fabric. Use a background fabric that is at least 13 inches square. I used a fat quarter and placed my felt pieces in the bottom left corner of the fat quarter so as not to waste any fabric.

Pin the branch pieces to your background fabric, curving the branches a bit as you go to give them a realistic look.

I usually match my thread to the applique pieces, but in this case I used a dark grayish tan thread on all to make it look more natural, like bark on the branches and feather edges on the bird.

TIPS FOR APPLIQUE USING BLANKET STITCH: 1. Go slow. In the tricky areas like the black face section, I actually used needle up/needle down to go very very slowly. 2. When you are stitching along outer curves, put your needle down on the outer edge of the applique and then lift your presser foot and turn your fabric. When you are stitching within an inner curve, leave your needle down on the inside of the applique (when the blanket stitched jumps to the left) and then lift your presser foot and turn your fabric.

Stitch the branches down using a machine or hand blanket stitch. Stitch the two off-shoot branches down first and nestle them under the main branch, as shown in the photo. Stitch the main branch down last. I found that the felt "stuck" to the fabric enough, but if you need to you can use a bit of fabric glue. Try first without glue, I think you'll find it works just fine.

Pin down the main body piece and the wings and the black face area.

First stitch the cardinal body down, using blanket stitch. Next stitch the wings down. Next stitch the black face portion. Stitch all the way through all layers, since this gives a more layered and dimensional look.

Sew a small black button on for the eye. Trim your composition down to 12 1/2 inches square.

Now, at this point you'll need to do some math. I was covering a 20-inch pillow. I just added borders until I had a 20.5-inch square. OR if you wish, you can add borders, quilt, and bind to make a wall-hanging.

Layer your backing (I used a muslin for backing), batting, and top, pin and quilt as desired. I used an echo-quilting pattern around the cardinal and just straight line quilting in the borders. For the echo-quilting, I used the edge of my walking foot following my previous stitching line as a guide.

Trim your quilt sandwich down to the size of your pillow form, plus 1/2 inch. Don't worry about trimming it too small, it's better to overstuff a pillow than to understuff it.

To make the overlapping envelope back, cut two pieces of fabric, the width of your pillow front (in my case 20.5 inches) by 1/2 the width plus 3 inches. If you use the unprinted selvage edge for one of the overlapping edges, you only have to finish off one opening edge with a rolled edge hem. Then overlap the two pieces as shown, with right sides facing the right side of the pillow front. Stitch all four sides together. Trim corners and turn right sides out.

This is my very first attempt at a tutorial, so feedback is very much appreciated. Please let me know if you have questions or if anything is confusing. Thanks!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Sew & Tell Friday: Cardinal Pillow Cover

It's time again for Sew & Tell Fridays. The days are flying by!


Tutorial now added here: Cardinal Pillow Cover

My inspiration. A calendar photo:

I traced the cardinal and appliqued it down with machine-stitched blanket stitch.

A glimpse of the process. I shadow-quilted around the cardinal and branches. Is that what it's called? Or echo-quilting?

There was a period of time during construction that I considered making this into a wall-hanging, but the pillow won out in the end.

The finished product! It didn't take too long. It is an overlapping envelope style pillow cover. I love to change my pillow covers from season to season.

I took lots of pictures. I could put together a tutorial if there is enough interest. Just let me know!
Sew Cal Gal is having a Virtual Christmas Quilt Show. Go over to her blog and scroll down to find the links to other Christmas quilts.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


20 roses. One per year.

Poor guy set a precedent long ago and it gets more expensive as each year goes by.

We celebrated yesterday in our quiet snow-covered house just enjoying being together. The weather did not permit going out for a fancy dinner, so I whipped up a stir-fry. It couldn't have been a nicer anniversary celebration.

When I count my blessings, my husband is at the top of the list. I get to spend my life with this man.

I do.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Snow Day

No electricity, no sewing. It's very very quiet here. And beautiful. The wind is picking up and beginning to blow the snow into drifts. I'm thankful for our wood burner.

Birds, all fluffed out and huddling in the branches, venturing out occasionally to get some seed.

The view out our front door. Are you staying snug and warm today?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Weekend Fun

We went here yesterday. We kind of stumbled upon it during our Saturday wanderings in Minneapolis with our younger son and his wife.

Beautiful displays and some great handmade products were offered by vendors. The place was packed!

If you can, keep an eye out for next year's dates for this fair. I know I will!


Happy Birthday to my wonderful husband! Our daughter-in-law, Diedra, made his favorite cake and we all tried to spoil him on his special weekend.

A great time was had by all.

I sincerely hope that you can reflect upon your weekend and smile.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Christmas Wall-Hanging

Visit Sew & Tell Fridays to view lots of beautiful projects! Sew & Tell Fridays is hosted by amylouwho.

Also, SewCalGal is hosting a Virtual Christmas Quilt Show. Be sure to visit and look at all the lovely entries!

This can now be revealed. I mailed it out early so that my son and daughter-in-law could enjoy it for the Christmas season. It arrived today.

For God So Loved the World . . .

They are having such fun decorating for their first Christmas, and I hope this wall-hanging brings coziness to their home.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Well, I've been busy. As I am sure many of you have been, as well.

We have December birthdays on hubby's side of our family, so that adds to the December fun -- and flurry -- of activity!

I made the cutest b-day gift for someone special. You'll see it after the party is past and the recipient is enjoying their gift.


Apparently I like table runners/scarves with scenes on them. This first one was my paternal grandmother's. I actually have two matching ones.

Any ideas on whether there is any symbolism behind these pictures? Or is it purely decorative?My hunch is that it is a German design, but I don't know for sure.

Hmmm, I think that's cat hair up on the top. No surprise there.


I love this next one. I bought it at the Norway area at Epcot in Walt Disney World in Florida. That was a few years ago, can't remember how long exactly, but when we went back they no longer carried them. I had hoped to find some for gifts.

I hope you are enjoying your decorating. It's always fun to get out all your favorites and admire them year after year!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...