Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Just popping in real quick to wish you a Happy Halloween!  This is a little free motion quilting practice from last night. I need lots more practice!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Wicked Welcome

Welcome to my post for the Wicked Blog Hop, hosted by the lovely Wendy of Why Knot Kwilt in conjunction with Madam Samm at Sew We Quilt.  A big hug to both ladies for the wonderful idea and for letting me join in on the fun! 

Please hop on your virtual broom and go visit the other Wicked bloggers today too!  I'm in such good company today and you'll find lots of wicked goodies here!
Hot Pink Peonies  (that's me!)

So how wicked was I feeling?  If you say "wicked," I think "witch" and I just knew I had a witch pattern in my library somewhere.  Spellbinding Quilts by Maaike Bakker has some super cute patterns, including wizards and princesses, gryphons, dragons and you guessed it ... a witch!

Isn't she cute, perched on her broom?  I didn't want to leave her unfinished so I added a little saying I read on some Halloween wall art the other day and turned the block into a wall hanging.

The meandering is not quite tidy but my free motion quilting is getting there.  I also quilted little spiderwebs into the top corners of the embroidered part.  Such fun!

Thanks for stopping by today, and be sure to visit the other quilters for lots more wickedness!

Hot Pink Peonies  (that's me!)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday Favorites: The Washi Tape Edition

**  Each of these Friday Favorites is something created by another blogger.  I do my best to include the proper credits and help you reach their blogs easily either through the text link or the photo link.  If you'd like to Pin one of these projects, please pin it directly from the original post,
not from this blog post.  Thanks!

Are you as obsessed with washi tape crafts as I am?  I have just a small collection of washi tape and paper tape at the moment, but I'm always on the hunt for fun ways to use it. 

How about a matryoshka doll on your craft room wall?  She is just adorable, and Sewn Studio even shared the pattern and instructions in a blog post.

For a fun pop of color, consider a striped desktop or table top!  This one is from Elise Blaha's blog.  Isn't this fun?  Its an inexpensive way to decorate too!  This would be a great way of adding color and individuality to an office where you can't change the walls like in a rented space or a college dorm.
Washi tape is great on glass too.  Add some to vases or candle holders, like these pretties from  Wouldn't you love to see these on your windowsill?  So cheerful!
Turn up the volume on a solid candle with a washi wrapper.  WohnWasabi shows you how with a quick tutorial.
And of course there are lots of inspirational photos of paper goods embellished with washi.  Greeting cards, mailing envelopes, gift tags, notebook covers. I've even seen it on laptops!  This Washi Gift Tag is one of my favorites from Craftaholics Anonymous.  I love how she added the floral touch too!

Washi buntings come in all shapes and sizes.  This is a cute one for topping off a special cake!  The blog post for this one includes a recipe for a chocolate cake.  It looks to be quite yummy.  That link is a two-fer!
And speaking of Pinterest, there are a ton of washi tape inspiration boards.  Just type washi in the search box, and you'll be browsing for hours and hours.  Ask me how I know. ;)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

It's Never Too Early

... to get started on Christmas projects!

Last week I ran into the craft store for some white thread, and I just had to peruse the quilting books that were on sale.  I've had my eye on Pretty in Patchwork Holidays for some time and at the sale price I couldn't resist.

There are so many fun projects in here that I want to work on.  From embroidery work, to pillow covers, to a Christmas tree skirt, I hardly know where to begin!

I was inspired by this cute reverse applique pillow with the patchwork Christmas tree by Angela Mitchell of the blog Fussy Cut, and decided to do something similar. 

While I was collecting all my green scraps to work with, I stumbled across this cute pale blue with white snowflakes from Connecting Threads.  Its the perfect background for a Christmas tree.  A few 2 inch squares, a couple HST's and a few hours later, I have a tree!

It may gain a border of some sort and then turn into a table topper or wall hanging rather than a pillow.   Either way, it was a fun way to spend a few hours in October, dreaming of the smell of a Christmas tree and snowflakes gently falling.  This book is full of fun projects, and many can be adapted to suit other holidays or simply use your own fabric choices for wonderful everyday handmade goodies. 

It has also caused me to start my list of what gifts I'd like to make for family and friends this Christmas and boy, do I need to get started! 

Have you started planning your holiday decor and gifts yet?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Friday Favorites

It's Friday!  Here's a few fun things I discovered recently that you might like!

Have you been to Toxic Paper Factory?  I learned about this fun site from How About Orange.  My nephew is not a fan of arts & crafts projects, but ninjas?  Ninjas might be the exception!  These look like fun.  Download a free project here.

For my fellow embroidery enthusiasts, have you seen Sugar Cookie's wood floss holders?  I found her on Etsy, and this is her daschund floss bobbin.  He's made of birchwood, and she has some other cute designs too!

made by

Halloween is on the horizon and I've been pinning ideas to my Halloween Pinterest board.  Click to hop on over and find some fun ideas there too!

Did you stumble across any great discoveries this week?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

New Halloween Pillows

Do you watch as many home decorating shows as I do?  I just love seeing the makeovers and getting tips on how to update a room on a budget.  Its true when they say one of the easiest ways of adding a pop of color is to bring in pillows!  And you know how I love to make pillows.  My living room is rather dim, so I took these outside to get better light.

This past weekend I made these two.  The larger print pillow is just a simple envelope style pillow cover.  I love this print.  It's really nicely detailed and has all the essential Halloween motifs - black cat, spider, raven, bat, the words RIP and Boo.  Mwa ha ha ha.

This one is a re-designed version of my Halloween pillow from a couple years ago.  I cut my cat out in felt and appliqued her onto a woven cotton I found at the quilt shop.  Its softer than burlap, but not as tightly woven as muslin or quilting cotton.  I like the look of it, but I want to try quilters linen next.  My original pillow was in fun prints, but this one feels a little more sophisticated and doesn't scream Halloween.

Do you update pillows with the holidays?  I'm thinking a Halloween quilt needs to go on my to-do list!

Friday, September 21, 2012

September Sew and Tell

Can you believe September is more than half way over already?  Where does the time go?  Last month I moved into a new house and boy, the unpacking takes forever.  I see moving as a chance to become better organized and it always seems to take me a while to decide furniture placement and all that fun stuff.  Plus this house has a pool, so I have probably been treating myself to more down time than normal.  Its lovely to be able to enjoy the water right in my own backyard.  My nephew-dog Max likes it for sure.  Katie is part golden retriever, but she is not a water dog so she stays a few feet back.  Silly pooch.  Here's Max enjoying the sun after romping with the lizards.

My sewing room is still a work in progress, so I've set up a little sewing space on my desk in the living room.  Last night I got an itch for a quick project, so I made my first Granny square.  I'm a little obsessed with orange and turquoise / aqua / teal as a color combination these days.  It seems very Florida, between the orange for the obvious local citrus and bright blues for the almost always sunny skies.  They don't call it the Sunshine State for nothing!  My lil Granny is made with 2 inch scraps and a white border of about 2 inches as well.  Finished out at 9 inches square, with cross hatch quilting on the block itself, and some square echo quilting in the border.  Super simple and I finished it in one sitting.  Talk about instant gratification!  This will either go on the wall of my sewing room, or I may use it as a mug rug or a place to rest my iron.

I've also been working on some hexies.  This lime and orange one uses plastic templates that I bought at Joann's.   More citrus colors!
This one I started a long time ago using paper templates.  I definitely prefer the plastic because my hexies are more consistently shaped that way.  I'm not sure if I cut them out messy or if its because the foundation of paper is so much more flexible, but I seem to do better with the plastic.  Also, I really need to work on my seams.  I tried both ladder stitch and whipstitch to put these together and you can see most of my stitches in person.  Phooey.  Looks great in a photo though. ;)

Those little trees from Erin McMorris are so cute!  This one is appliqued onto a large scrap of purple waves and it is destined to become a zippered pouch for my hexies-in-progress.

My other project in the works is a jelly roll quilt with simple squares.  Once the cutting is done and you've got all the block components put into piles, chain piecing makes these blocks a breeze.   The fabric is Frolic by Sandy Gervais and as I work with it, I'm loving it more and more.  The colors are a great combination. I would never think to add in brown with the cheerful coral and turquoise and yellow, but I think this combo really makes the fabric pop.

Next on my to-do list are some X and + blocks for my circle of do.Good Stitches, and something fun for the Wicked Blog Hop next month. 
I'm linking up with the lovely Amy at AmyLouWhoSews with her Sew & Tell Friday.  Hop on over to see what other projects are out and about! 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Words to Stitch By

Moving into a new home is always an exciting thing for me, whether its only five miles or hundreds of miles.  This time it was only across town, but boy is it alot of work anyway.  There is still some painting to do, lots of furniture rearranging, and some serious organizing to do too.  And that's just the inside of the house.  I can't wait to get my hands on the garden.  So there may be some crafty before & afters in the coming weeks (including a hot pink wall in my sewing studio!) but for now I want to share some embroidery that I've been working on when I'm too tired for anything else.

A couple of years ago my shop carried a cute collection of metal wall plaques with various gardening related sayings on them like "Gardeners Know the Best Dirt," and "Don't Just Stand There, WEED!"  There were also a few general sayings, and one that really moved me was "Do One Thing Every Day That Scares You."  Turns out, this is a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt and its a great inspirational concept.  Good for small business owners, good for shy people trying to be more outgoing, good for those of us who procrastinate on the hard stuff, good for learning new techniques in your craft.  Good on lots of levels.

I think about it from time to time, so I created a graphic with some fun fonts and started stitching.  Its not a proper sampler, but with its stem stitch, satin stitch and long & short stitches I think it has some interest as a stitchery and its almost done.   It may stay in the hoop, or I may frame it. 

Do you have any favorite inspirational sayings or quotations? Ever think of stitching them up into a little wall decor? 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Sorry to be MIA. I'm moving to a new home this week & you know how crazy that can be.

Katie is not sure she likes sitting in the uhaul.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Olympic Knitting

If you surf the discussion forums on Ravelry, you will know all about the Ravellenic Games when the Ravelry users knit and crochet and spin to their hearts content in honor of, and while watching the Olympic Games.  There are plenty of events, from WIP Wrestling to the Bag & Tote Backstroke and you post your finished items as though you were competing in an event.  Its tons of fun, and all in the spirit of enjoying the Olympics no matter where you live, or what yarnie craft you do.

Since I'm packing to move to a new home (next week!) I haven't had much free time for knitting, but it rained today so I got out a project to finish at work.  I started this cabled cap from Knitting Simple way back in February 2010.  At the time, my father was helping me get my house in Virginia spruced up to put it on the market, and we had 2 blizzards in a row.  My power went out, and I spent a little time working on this cabled cap to go along with a grey Prismatic Scarf (available on Ravelry) I had knitted for him and finished January 2010.  Apparently I never took a photo of the finished scarf though and I'm bummed about that.

Pattern: Cabled Cap, Knit Simple Winter 2006 / 2007
Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Bulky, Pewter (less than one skein)
Needles: US10

It's two years late, but its finished!  He will be here this week to help me get settled in the new house so its kind of ironic timing.  Hope he likes it!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Pets on Quilts 2012

Its August already!  That's a little jarring for several reasons, like I'm moving next week and the kiddos start school in a couple weeks (my nephew will be in middle school - nooooo - that's too old!)  and a bunch of other events that hammer home how quickly time passes.  But the fun part is, its time for the Pets on Quilts blog parade!  Pets on quilts and pet themed quilts are of course the focus of this fun blog hop, started by SewCalGal last year.  There are even prizes too!

Pets on Quilts

The Pets on Quilts event runs from August 1 to 12.   Hop on over to Lily Pad Quilting (I had to say hop!) and check out the links to those posts that are already up. 

I'll be posting pictures of Katie & my quilty projects sometime this week, so I'll see you soon!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Flying Geese

Our July assignment for the Inspire Circle of do. Good Stitches was to use flying geese.  Thea will be putting together a boys quilt in orange and aqua, and a girls quilt in raspberry and citrine, along with white, navy or greys.  She has such great ideas!  I love these color combinations, and I had some good choices in the fabric stash already.

I've never done flying geese before, so this was another chance to expand my quilting horizons.  I've said it before, but I love being in a group like this circle where we get a new assignment each month.  Sometimes I get to learn a new technique, sometimes its a quilt block that I haven't tried before, and sometimes I stretch myself with new color combinations.  Its always fun, and the best part is that the blocks are put into quilts for charity.  That just makes you feel good inside!  To learn more about do. Good Stitches or to join, click on over to the main Flickr group.

Back to the geese.  Looking for inspiration, I found a recent edition of Quilter's World that had a pattern with flying geese in it. I followed the directions to make the geese and then improvised the sashing to bring it up to a 12.5 inch block.  The two shades of aqua make this block rather interesting, I think.

Then I remembered that Evelyn, a quilter in our circle, recommended using her favorite No Waste Flying Geese tutorial from Shannon at Pieceful Kwilter. This was super helpful, and my geese improved as I used the tutorial. Thanks to both Evelyn and Shannon! I like this one too, and the geese are tidier but I don't think it will work out very well in a full quilt because of the narrow sashing, so I get to keep this one.   It will probably become a pillow cover, or hang out in the WIP box until I find a good use for it.

On to the berry & citrine!  This time I made smaller geese using Pieceful Kwilter's handy sizing chart.  I really like this one, and my geese are getting straighter. It feels silly saying it, but bias really effects how tidy a block can be when it comes to piecing.   The citrine portions of this block are from Wildwood by Erin McMorris, which happens to use citrine, greys and berries all together. 

Can you tell I've become a fan of putting frames on my photos?  PhotoScape calls these frames Cali 11 and Cali 12.   Be sure to check out the No Waste Flying Geese tutorial at Pieceful Kwilter.  Its really helpful.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

What a Difference a Gusset Makes - A Quick Tutorial

So you know I love zippered pouches, and I'll take any excuse to make another one right?  I thought it was high time I branch out into something a little different, so I added a gusset.  Super simple and it makes such a difference!  The pouches you see here are all currently available in my Etsy shop.

Once you've gotten the zipper placed, then sewn (or serged) all around the edges and you're just about ready to turn that puppy inside out, you can create a gusset. 

Carefully unfold one corner until you can match the seams front and back, then lay it flat.  I use a pencil to mark a straight line across the corner, one inch in from the tip of the triangle that you've created.

Sew across this line, remembering to back stitch at the beginning and the end. 

Then snip off the tip, leaving less than a 1/4 inch seam.  Do the same to the other corner of the lining, and then both corners of the exterior fabric as well.  Turn it inside out, and admire your work! 

This pouch has a ball of yarn in it, along with knitting needles.  It just seems nicer to have that extra width along the base of the pouch, if you know you'll be stashing something with some dimension to it.

Here's the same ball of yarn & needles in a flat pouch.  All lumpy & bumpy in the middle.  It works, but its not as nicely packaged.

Have you tried adding a gusset to a bag or pouch?  I think ruffles are next on my list of pouch embellishments!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Recipe: Summer on a Stick

The flavors of a caprese salad are heavenly - fresh basil, fresh tomato and mozzarella.  To me, this flavor combination says summer!  There are so many fun ways of using these three ingredients: in pasta, combined as their own salad, or even on a pizza. Add a little summer sausage or salami, and you've got a real winner.  This makes a nice appetizer for a dinner al fresco, or a cute dish to take to a barbeque or outdoor picnic.  I've been known to skip the skewers and eat it as a light lunch.

Here's how you make it.  Its so simple, I feel wrong calling this a 'recipe.' 

Basic ingredients - determine how many skewers you'll be making and go from there:
   A chunk of mozzarella cheese
   Fresh cherry or grape sized tomatoes
   Summer sausage stick
   Several basil leaves
   Balsamic vinegar for drizzling

Cube your mozzarella cheese and the summer sausage into bite sized cubes, wash those tomatoes and rip off some basil leaves.

Optional step:  At this point, any furry friend in the house may be hovering around, hoping you'll drop some of that yummy sausage or cheese on the floor.  It's up to you to decide whether or not you want to share.  Not surprisingly, I caved.

Spike a sausage cube onto the skewer, then add mozzarella cube, a basil leaf (or suitably sized portion of a leaf), and finally a tomato.

Aren't they pretty?  If you use shorter skewers, you can reverse the order of ingredients and stand them up using the sausage cube as a base.  These are cute for entertaining.

For added flavor, you can drizzle balsamic vinegar over it all, but I skipped that step this time.  You can also skip the skewers altogether and toss the ingredients for more of a salad.  I make the pieces smaller when I do this, so you can get more than one ingedient in a bite.

The basil, tomato and cheese are always a crowd-pleasing flavor combination, and for the meat eaters a little summer sausage or salami adds that extra something.  Let me know if you try this - I'd love to hear how you like it!