Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Hillbilly bag...

My daughter and her friends LOVE a game called "Cards Against Humanity."  It can be politically incorrect and a little bawdy and raw, but it is HILARIOUS and the proceeds of the game are gifted to schools.

My husband and I love to cross generational lines and play with them as well, when allowed (grin).

Riley has the "bigger, blacker box," which contains the original game cards and several expansion is long, heavy. and awkward to try and put in a normal tote bag and run out the door.

Today I took an old pair of my husband's jeans, no pattern or plan, and made her a "hillbilly bag" in which to tote the game around when she goes to friends' houses.

Maybe I should call it an "overall bag" because it sort of looks like pants with suspenders or a bib...

I basically cut off one pants leg and added some length to it by piecing some of the pocket sections together and adding them to the top.  It is funky!  It would benefit from some embellishing, but I am sure that it will get used and abused.

It's probably too tall for the game, but she can stuff some personal items on top if she is spending the night, or take a snack to share.  

She doesn't carry a purse all the time, so I attached the pocket sections so she would have a place for her ID, car keys, and phone.

The straps are long (from the other pants leg) so that she can sling it from her shoulder (she is always carrying something bag, French horn...she's a little beast of burden).

I did a bag pleat at the bottom to fit the end of the box.  The finished product is goofy as Hell, but now I am justified in saving all the old denim that gets worn out or outgrown in this house.

The jeans are like ties to me...I save them, but I am too chicken to use them...afraid that I will waste them on lesser efforts.  Doing this little project today makes me want to make some more bags, but take the time to line them and embellish them with yo-yo's, buttons, prairie points, etc.  Today's effort was pretty primitive.

I've also seen people use the legs of jeans as gift bags for wine or to make a storage place for recycled plastic grocery bags.  Hmmm...

And I thought that I wasn't going to get anything made for Christmas this year...

In stitches,
Teresa   :o)

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Give-Away winners and something tempting in the mail...

Look what the mailman brought...hmmm...

Thank you for all the well wishes on my birthday!  I'm going to send out TEN Quiltmaker 100 Block, Volume 10 instead of FIVE.  I'm sorry I don't have one for everyone!  I sent out emails in case there is confusion from multiple people with the same name...)

June D
Vicki W
Karen B
Carolyn (from Texas)

Congratulations and thanks to everyone for brightening my day!

In stitches,
Teresa   :o)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

It's my about a give-away!

peeblespair: Photo

The above picture is what you hope you look like when you turn 54 years old...

The following is closer to the truth...

haha! why make two trips when you can make one?

It's my birthday and I still have 5 copies of the Quiltmaker 100 Blocks, No. 10...let's do a give away!  My apologies to those who already have a copy...

I will choose tomorrow (Friday) at noon by random number generator.  If you have a funny birthday story, joke, or phrase, please include if you have the time!

(Please no "no-reply" or "anonymous" comments and domestic mail only for the give-away...still eating canned beans from the last give-aways, LOL!!)

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

"Miss Emilie's Garden" outer borders are prepped and ready to stitch...

The four outer borders for Lori Smith's "Miss Emilie's Garden" are glue-prepped and awaiting hand applique stitching.  They are hanging out on my design wall, yelling at me every time I go down to the quilt cave to deal with the cat box or move laundry around.

They may wait and yell at me for a FIL fell and broke his hip early last Saturday morning and Steve flew to Philadelphia immediately to take care of his mom and monitor the hip replacement surgery.  I am here to watch over looming college and scholarship deadlines and watch my daughter Riley's directorial debut with her school drama club, of which she is the president.

I guess you can say I am the president of our family drama club, which has been a little busy and over produced this year...

On a lighter note, my "Baltimore Rhapsody - Symphony" showed up in two quilt publications this month...first in the Dec/Jan edition of Quilter's Newsletter Magazine...

And then in the most recent American Quilter magazine...

My thanks to the editors...I sure needed the little boost.  What was going to be a difficult holiday season just got more challenging.  It is unlikely the three of us will be together for Christmas...Steve is needed in Pennsylvania and I am needed in Alabama.

I have great hope for 2015!

In stitches,
Teresa   :o)

Monday, December 8, 2014

Hand appliqued sawtooth borders for "Miss Emilie's Garden"...

I love the outer borders that Lori Smith designed for her "Miss Emilie's Garden" wall quilt, but I have to admit that I am having to make more of an effort to make them than I spent on making the twenty-five tiny applique blocks for the center of the quilt!

One problem that I encountered was making sure my sawtooth bits were completely straight along their edges.  I lined up my longer rulers, weighted them down so they would not move, then carefully pressed down my freezer paper patterns up against them.

I use the straight edge of my ruler to line up the edge of my pattern.

So that I wouldn't touch my plastic rulers with the edge of my sizzling iron sole plate, I first carefully "spot pressed" the "pointy" side of the pattern strip, then I moved my beloved rulers out of danger and thoroughly pressed the freezer paper pattern to the right side of the fabric.

I am leaving quite a big margin of extra fabric on the straight-edged side of my pattern.  I will trim away what I don't need later.  The black drawn line is my cutting line.

Now to glue my edges under...

Points first...

I am trying out a new iron.  I have heard a lot of hoopla about the cordless ones on the market.  I purchased a Panasonic.  

I hate dealing with the electrical cord while pressing tops and backings.  The cord is retractable into the base, and the base can be somewhere other than in my way on the ironing board.  Yippee!

It is pointy on both far I have tried to set it down like my old iron, on it's end, only once.  That doesn't work too well, LOL! Duh!

Only one end slips into the charging area.  I have not tried steam yet.  I'm still not sure if it is hot enough, but I have not used it much yet.  I will let you know.

I've been sewing props for my daughter's play...most recently, eleven huge "bags representing love"...

...and one really small bag of love.  The big bags are temporarily storing my fiber-fil and batting scraps!

In stitches,
Teresa   :o)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Progress on Miss Emilie's Garden...

I had such good intentions for Thanksgiving weekend...even though we were driving to the Philadelphia area to spend the weekend with Steve's parents, sister, and nephews, I prepared a little box of applique pieces to take with me.  

I stupidly thought I might have a sliver of time when Steve's family would be watching TV that I might be able to sit with them and prep a few applique pieces.  First I would trim around the freezer paper patterns and then glue stick and turn the edges in preparation for some December applique stitching.

HA!  What was I thinking?  There is my little packed work container complete with tools and glue sticks...and there it stayed in the bottom of my little tote bag, UNTOUCHED, all weekend...oh well.  If I had not prepped my little travel container, Murphy's Law dictates that I would have had a little time to work...and had nothing to do!

I simply can't watch TV without something to do with my hands!

We drove to Philadelphia on Wednesday, then drove home to southeast Michigan on Sunday.  On Monday, I decided to treat myself to "catch up" Monday...I caught up on laundry and completely prepped all the pieces that I meant to prep over the holiday weekend.

Between moving loads of laundry around and folding, I emptied my little container and trimmed my pieces.

Then I glued and folded back the scant little edges, stopping to rinse and dry off my odd, little acrylic rulers a couple of times when they got too sticky to proceed...

As I worked, I refilled my empty little box with prepped pieces...

Then I removed my freezer paper patterns...

Now I am ready to continue working on "Miss Emilie's Garden" by Lori Smith.  The outer borders are a bit work intensive...I fought the urge to invent something quicker and easier, then sighed and decided to be a good girl and finish the little quilt top as God (and Lori Smith) intended.

The inside of the little quilt has been taking up space on my design wall...

I don't expect to have a lot of stitching time in December, but when I do, I will be working on these festive red and green borders.


In stitches, 
Teresa  :o)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The big give-away!

It has been an exciting week in the quilt cave...first of all, 252 comments for a give-away.  WOW!  It is so interesting hearing from so many people from all over the place!  I wish I had a prize for all of you!

Here are the 5 winners: (using a random number generator)

1)  Cookie  (quilty package)
2)  Nancy Hilderbrand  (Quiltmaker 100 Blocks magazine)
3)  Margaret  (Quiltmaker 100 Blocks magazine)
4)  Elsie Montgomery  (quilty package)
5)  Helen Bowie  (quilty package)

I have sent an email to each winner...if I don't hear back from you within a week with a snail mail address, I will choose another winner...

Thank you to everyone who visited and left a comment...I hope you will come back!

There are a few things in the quilty package...some little rectangular containers for storing applique pieces as you work (I am ALL about the containers, LOL!), this little applicator bottle for glue baste (with a needle tip for applying tiny dots)...

...some "disappearing purple" Elmer's glue sticks...

...some Washable Elmer's School glue for glue basting, to put in your little applicator bottle (I find it works just as well as the Roxanne's Glue Baste, and soaks out a little faster/easier)...

...a package of pattern weights...

...and one of these "Lil' Sticks," PERFECT for clearing the needle tip of the glue applicator bottle.

I will have info in my next post about where to find some of these tools...

Congratulations to all the winners!

The Blog Tour continues today and tomorrow (Thursday and Friday) - ENJOY!

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Big Reveal - QUILTMAKER'S 100 BLOCKS, VOL 10 Blog Tour...

Welcome to the big reveal for "QUILTMAKER'S 100 BLOCKS,
Vol. 10."  I am so pleased and proud to have had a block chosen for this edition!  My block is called "Tangled Hearts" and is block #912 on page 23.  It is now available where quilt magazines are sold.  

I am a hand applique ADDICT and have started to design my own unique projects...check out my side bar for my "Baltimore Rhapsody - Symphony" music applique project.  I am also an organizing whack job when it comes to my "quilt cave" and stash, and I love scrappy piecing and applique projects (I hate narrowing down fabric choices for projects, so I USE EVERYTHING!).

At the end of this post, you will have an opportunity to enter into a give-away for a copy of this new magazine to be sent from QUILTMAKER and for one of three quilty prizes from me...a total of four fun prizes for 4 lucky who leave comments.  In addition, I will announce the winners of my premature "blunder giveaway" of last week.  

But first, the block tutorial!

This block calls for 8 tangled, appliqued hearts.  The color palette can be anything that strikes your fancy and the method of applique can be of your choosing, hand or machine, turned under or raw edge.

I decided to work from my bright scraps in red, pink, orange and yellow.

I like to do hand applique using a method I will describe in detail in this post, in case you would like to try it.  I love the speed, ease and flexibility of this method.

I use the following tools: (numbers correspond to picture below)
     1)  freezer paper (butcher paper)
     2)  nice, sharp scissors for fabric and regular snips for paper
     3)  a stiletto (also called awl - I like the one made by Clover)
     4)  an Elmer's "disappearing purple" glue stick
     5)  a small, washable surface to work on (an acrylic ruler or 
          small cutting mat works great - the excess glue stick will
          wash off with warm water)
     6)  Roxanne's Glue Baste or Elmer's Washable School Glue
     7)  long handled tweezers, optional (I like using these to handle
          all the fiddly paper and fabric pieces)
     8)  pattern weights, optional (usually the glue will stick well if
          you just hold it for a few seconds, but I find these helpful)
     9)  a pencil
   10)  a "Fast Turn" (smallest), optional - these are THE BEST
          THING to clean out the needle tip of the glue (they can be
          purchased here from P3 Designs)


Find Pattern Sheet #2 in the pull-out section of the magazine. There you will find heart shapes B, C and D.  

Using a pencil, trace the heart shapes on the freezer paper...eight of heart B, four of heart C, and four of heart D...on the non-shiny side of the paper.  Here are the eight heart B shapes on eight bright scraps.  Press them on the RIGHT side of the fabric scrap with a hot, dry iron, making sure there is a small margin all the way around.  The shiny side of the freezer paper will adhere until peeled away.

I numbered each heart pattern so that I would remember the order later on when arranging the 8 prepped hearts.

Using the sharp scissors, cut out each heart, inside and out, leaving an 1/8 inch allowance (or 3/16 inch - the skinnier the allowance, the smoother and less bulky the outer curves).  

If you are doing raw-edge or machine applique, no allowance is needed and you probably want to use a light-weight fusible instead of the freezer paper, adhered to the WRONG side of your fabric.

Now I will show you how I prepare the pieces for hand applique.

One at a time, turn the hearts wrong-side-up on a washable surface. I usually use a seldom used acrylic ruler, but they were too shiny for taking photos, so I am using a small cutting mat here.

Working on the edge of the glue stick...

...dab a little glue on the two points indicated below.  The "disappearing purple" shows up a little bit on the red fabric (it is much more visible on lighter fabrics - the purple is temporary).

Using the awl, I fold the points over until I just see the white paper pattern point (that is pressed on the other side).  The white pattern will always be my guide as I glue the edges over on the wrong side of the fabric.

I like the stiletto because the sharp point helps me to grab and fold the fabric over.

Before gluing under the edges, I need to use my sharp scissors to make a single cut (a snip) at each of the INSIDE corners (see below). Because these are sharp corners, I cut all the way to the edge of the paper pattern. 

Before gluing the inside curves, I make additional little snips with my scissors.  These will be much more shallow that the ones made at corners...the depth and the frequency has to do with how deeply curvy the area is where I am gluing...where the curve is deeper, the cut is a little deeper and more frequent.  This keeps the piece flat as the edges are glued under.  

The arrows below show where I cut, and the following pictures show the depth and frequency.  Once the edge is glued, it will be easier to see where I made my snips.

When gluing each inside edge, I will fold under at the inside apex to the point of the line drawn below (each side folds in, half way, to meet in the middle and make a nice point).

I use the very edge of my white paper pattern as a guide as I glue.

It is a little hard to see, but I try and show the snips below (I circled a couple of them).

As the curve gets deeper, the snip goes deeper, as shown by the inserted lines parallel to the edge as shown below.

Then I do the same with the other inside curve.  The point at the inside apex of the heart is crisp (see below at the the arrow tip).

And the inside curve at the bottom snip goes all the way to the paper.

Now I glue the outside edge.  Make no snips here!  Here I make little pleats as I go.  I pull the edge over with the stiletto in my dominant hand and press with the index finger of my other hand, looking for the first sight of the edge of the white pattern as my guide (my pressing index finger is not in the following photo because it is holding the camera).

Since I already glued the tip over, when I fold the other two glued edges I get a nice point (I call this a tri-fold - I also do this on the tips of leaves).

This orange heart makes it easier to see the nice, crisp point.

As I work and the surface I am working on gets sticky from the glue stick, it is easy to wash and dry the ruler or surface, then get back to work.

The purple glue stick shows up a little better on this yellow heart.

The FINISHED size of the block will be twelve inches.  I started with a 14 inch block.  I always use a larger block for applique, then trim the block to working size (12-1/2 inches) after I've hand stitched, soaked out the glues, pressed the piece flat, flat, flat.  Then I use it in my project and the finished size is 12 inches square.

Freezer paper can be used to label pieces...just a tiny scrap of freezer paper as a label pressed on the right side of each piece can eliminate confusion.

There are a few choices of how to proceed with the layout of the prepped heart rings.  If I am making more than one of a particular applique block, I like to draw a template on tracing paper.  It is a little more trouble, but worth it for multiple, completely identical blocks.  I do it in pencil first, then go over it in ink (ultra-fine Sharpie marker) when I am sure it is accurate and correct.

Or, I at minimum draw up a template with lines drawn up-and-down, side-to-side, and on the diagonals, as below.

At the very least, you could fold and lightly press the background to reveal the same guiding lines that I drew above.  

The center of each heart will line up over each of these 8 lines, and the distance between the bottom, inner-most points of opposite hearts is 1-1/2 inches.

I am working over a light box (if you don't have a light box you can open up an Ott light under a large, square acrylic ruler).

I will wait and cut open each heart as I work around the ring of hearts.

Above, I show how I will cut the heart rings open in a place where the cut is centered over the heart to the right. 

The Quiltmaker editors put a dotted line on the pattern to indicate where to cut, but I cut as I go so I make absolutely sure I cut in the right place for it to be hidden!

First, I lay out the hearts in the order that is pleasing BEFORE I cut them open and tangle them up!  Below, they are in place, but not woven together.

One at a time, I will cut, weave, and glue baste the hearts to the background.  I use TINY dots of glue ("dot-dot, not-a-lot") to glue baste the pieces to the background.  Below, I am holding up the edges of the piece with my clumsy fingers, but I prefer to work with my long beading tweezers.

Here I have placed my glue dots, but I don't stick the red heart down until I've enclosed the yellow heart.

The pattern weights hold things in place while I pull things up to apply the tiny drops of glue.

Once the ring of hearts is in place and glue-basted, I prep the smaller heart accents.  Again, I use my dry iron to press the freezer paper patterns to scraps of yellow, orange, pink and red on the right side of the fabric.  Then I cut each one out leaving a 1/8 inch margin.

After I glue the edges under, I remove the freezer paper pattern and replace it with a tiny freezer paper tag so I can keep up with where each heart will go (top right, TR, etc).

Then I glue baste the little hearts into place, centering them on the diagonal lines that are either lightly pressed into the background or drawn on the tracing paper template, if I took the time to make the deluxe lay-out template.

After the glue is dry enough to be secure, I use the stiletto to pry up the edge of the pressed labels...

...then I use my tweezers to remove them!

Now I am ready to hand applique all the edges down using silk thread and my best invisible stitches.  The glue baste allows me to do this without annoying pins catching my thread.  Here is my block, all ready to start stitching!

After I do all the hand stitching, I soak the block in warm water with some gentle squeezing and multiple water changes to remove the glues. I use archival glue, with no acid, but I still prefer to remove the slight stiffness of the glues.

Then I place the block on a clean towel, roll it up, and squeeze gently  (DO NOT WRING!).  After the block mostly air-dries, I press it, right-side-down, on a dry towel.  Once pressed, the block can be trimmed down to 12-1/2 inches.

Here is the block done in Reproduction fabrics.

And now, THE GIVE-AWAY!!  On Thursday morning, November 20 at 6:00 AM, I will use a random number generator to pick 4 lucky winners from among the people who leave a comment on this post and follow my blog.  Quiltmaker will send out one copy of this fabulous, new publication and I will send out 3 quilty surprise bags of applique-related  goodies (no anonymous bloggers, please...). All winners will be revealed in a post on Thursday, November 20.

And now for my BLUNDER GIVE-AWAY from last Monday. (It's a long story...I posted this post a week early and needed to take it down, but not before there were commenters!  How embarrassing!)
      1)  Karen of Quilts, Etc. blog
      2)  Teresa in Music City of A Quilt and a Prayer blog
      3)  Judy Dietrich
      4)  Janet
      5)  Nancy of Tattered Garden Quilts blog

Congratulations to these winners and good luck to the ones will be revealed on Thursday!

I hope you will all try this method of applique!

Check out other block designers this week by visiting the Quiltmaker Blog and following the links!  I am grateful to the nice people at Quiltmaker for this opportunity to publish a block!

In stitches,

Teresa  :o)