Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Last minute FINISHES!!

Yes Virginia...there will be a Santa Claus this year!

Dr. Seuss quilts are finished and wrapped (for Eliza, 18 months, and Asa, 10 months).

Cottage quilt is finished and wrapped for my sister...(shhh!).

"Olivia" quilted book bag is finished for Eliza...

Dr. Seuss quilted book bag is finished for Asa...

 My friend Judy Endres made this ornament for me...

My friend Beth Kruzich made these snowman ornaments for me...

 My friend Mary Jones made the Redwork ornaments for me...

...AND this beautiful wall hanging...

I will show more pictures of wonderful things after the first of the year.  It's been a crazy month...I turned 50 (and was taken by surprise by my Sit & Stitch friends!)  I've performed and directed LOTS of music in all kinds of styles.  I managed to finish all my homemade gifts.  Now I will be away from my blog for two weeks, enjoying the season with my family, near and far.  I look forward to catching up with all of you in the new year...I've missed you as my seasonal job responsibilities have taken me away from the blogosphere too much this month.

Have a joyous and safe holiday season!!

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Ornament exchange today!

Our annual Friday Sit & Stitch potluck and ornament exchange is in a few hours and I wanted to share the two ornaments that I made to share.  The first one is made from yo yo's, slightly puffed with some scrap squares of batting then "threaded" on some fine gold wire and tied with a bow.

The second one is a crazy pieced, scrappy, stuffed heart with some beaded embellishment and a dangling key (all hearts have a lock and key, some harder to "pick" than others!).

We anonymously wrap each ornament in tissue then stuff it in an unadorned brown lunch sack, secured with a staple.  Then they are heaped on a table and we draw numbers to determine a choosing order.  It is so much fun to see what this very clever group comes up with every year.

I will post what I come home with (and maybe a few others!) next post.

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Order from the chaos...

I recently had a huge mess down in the quilt cave...these two pictures are for everyone who thinks (based on my past Stash Manicure posts) that my sewing area is always neat as a pin.  Sometimes creativity demands a messy canvas!  OK, OK, it does drive me nuts when the process continues for more than a couple of days...I can only handle complete chaos for so long!

When I am grooving on a scrappy project (a.k.a. "making my own fabric"), I have to have everything out where I can see it, touch it, choose and reject it.

I've been working on casserole dish "rugs"  or hot dish mats - I really tried making them based on a couple of tutorials I found, but I ended up having to put my own spin on them.  (Hey...it's me!)  I couldn't get them to work nicely without binding them, so now I'm on a binding frenzy.  I have managed to finish a few.  In honor of her new book (out today, I think!!!!!), I experimented some more with Tonya's free-pieced letters (Word Play Quilts, by Tonya Ricucci of Lazy Gal Quilting).  You've GOT TO check out her book and making these amazing letters...if I can make them, anyone can!  They add such a personal, wonky touch to any project.  I put a fun border on this "Wickedly Liberated" quilt using her method:

Back to the casserole mats...I layered the pieced little top with Insul-Brite and muslin, machine quilted that, then added a piece of batting and a nice backing.  Then I pinned all that together and applied binding, which I finished by hand.

 I've gotten ribbons for my hand quilting, but you'd NEVER know it looking at my feeble attempts at machine quilting!  Every time I try this I am in awe of all you fabulous machine quilters.

I wish I could have gotten them to look good by putting right sides together, stitching, and turning and top-stitching.  There were just too many layers with the batting, top, backing and Insul-Brite.  So my plan B called for my favorite thing...binding...crap!  Oh well, ho-ho-ho!

I did manage to get the main Christmas tree decorated with my daughter's help.

And my sneaky husband managed to catch me and the Weasley beast cat nappin' Thanksgiving weekend after our company left...zzzz!  We were plum tuckered out!

Have a blessed December...remember to pause for yourself while you are doing things for others.

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Friday, December 3, 2010

HOT project!

Santa's workshop is open and humming!  This is going to be a casserole mat.  My scrappy strip containers were overflowing (thank you, Mary J.!!) and then I saw the hot pad tutorial on the Esch House Blog.  Yippee!  A gift idea AND a way to be able to close my containers again!  A definite "two-fer!!"  These will be pads to put hot casseroles on and feature Insul-Brite insulated batting.  EVERYONE needs these on their Christmas list!

And I get to play with Tonya letters, just in time for the much anticipated release of her first book, "Word Play Quilts!"  Oooo!  I'm so excited to get a copy!!  Come on Santa...get your butt here and deliver me a book!

These hot pads measure 10 x 15 inches, which is what these first 4 efforts will measure when finished.  That is the perfect size to work for a 9 x 13 casserole dish.  Her tutorial is fabulous, and I am working on making several "tops," then I will layer, machine-quilt, and assemble in true elf assembly line fashion.  Ho-ho-ho!

Here are 3 strippy ones without words. 

OK...they are definitely more fun with words.  I made the following words to incorporate in some strippy tree blocks.  I'm going to vary the sizes on these to accommodate steeping teapots and smaller casserole dishes.  This project is getting hot-hot-HOT!!

Making some tree blocks...

Now I will attach a "hot!" block to a tree(s) to make more fun casserole mats.

The strips start like this...

Then turn into free-pieced blocks and trees.

Using my 5.5 inch square ruler, it just takes 6 blocks to make a 10 x 15 mat.  Easy-peasy, lemon squeezy!

I'll be back soon with some that are finished!

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Calendar stitcheries and preparations...

I'm here, I'm here, I'm still here!  Where did the last 2 weeks go?!?  PREPARATIONS!  But first, check these out...(in no particular order).













These are beautiful Kathy Schmitz designs that are supposed to be stitched in all black and form one small wallhanging, but I decided to make them into individual very small wall hangings...something to change out every month.  I also decided to add a little bit of color to each one.

I still need to quilt simply and bind each one, then they will be a finished Christmas gift for one of my sisters.

Sorry not to post in so long...thank you to those who have emailed me to see where I've been.  As some of you know, my husband and I started doing some home improvement projects and painting half the inside of the house at the end of the summer.  We had been putting it off for years and finally made a commitment to do it.  Then we were blessed to find that my Dad, Stepmother, and my favorite Aunt wanted to come for Thanksgiving.  We were so excited!  Needless to say, we put it in high gear and will be finished with everything by the time they get here on Tuesday.  Whew!!!

Thank God they are coming...no telling how long we would have dragged all this out without the delightful threat of house guests.  Now it will all be done for the whole holiday season.

I always work better with a deadline in mind...

Have a fantastic Thanksgiving holiday!

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Friday, November 5, 2010

The continued tour of the "quilt cave"...

I was invited by Madame Samm of Stash Manicure to continue explaining the organizational madness that is my quilt cave (the basement).  It looks like I will be posting there once a month for a few months to finish showing how I organize my space.  This month I discuss how I deal with patterns, books, and magazines...all that paper that tends to pile up.   Check it out at the link above!

I am lucky to have stash and books, but my set up is pretty humble...lots of second-hand file cabinets from U of M, table tops from the recycle center, etc. I love to dream about how it would all look if I had an unlimited budget to buy shelves, fixtures, fancy containers, etc., like they do on those organizing shows on the cable channels.  I did have to invest in some sturdier shelves from IKEA for my quilt books after my last shelf collapsed into a pile of pressed oatmeal boards and quilt books gone all helter skelter.  That was a sad, sad day...

I just love sheet pocket protectors, hanging file folders, sticky notes...I have a deep down obsession with office supplies...maybe because I love all the things they can help me organize.  As a musician, I also store my loose sheet music and books in file folders like this, in addition to our family personal and financial records.

This is my favorite little "mad pleasure" - it is my idea book.  I save pictures from magazines (that I don't save the directions to), quilt show photos, and little pictures from greeting cards, catalogs, etc. and I glue them randomly into this bound lab record book with a glue stick.  These little snippets give me inspiration about color, lay-out, drawing appliques, little cute sayings to stitch, etc. 

I do love using the bound books, even though they get too fat to properly close after glueing in all that wonderful encouragement.  (Maybe a binder or spiral notebook would work better for you.)  I like how these fit in my cubby, right behind my sewing machine.  They are my "go-to" resource to get to a happy space if I am feeling blue or uninspired.

I think I need to make a correction from my last post.  I posted blocks I had finished for an online bee I belong to.

I called these Disappearing 9-Patch blocks.  I think they are really Disappearing 4-Patches.  Disppearing 9-Patches look like this (thank you Helen of Quilts and ATC's).

Both the Disppearing 4-Patch and the Disappearing 9-Patch are great blocks to make with pre-cut charm squares...do you have a favorite quilt or block pattern that you like using charm squares for??

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)