My quest for perfect applique

Earlier this year I finished my first block of the month quilt, purchased from Joann’s Fabric. It would be the second quilt I ever made solely on my own and my first attempt at applique. I have to say the undertaking was quite ambitious on my part and at the time I had no idea that this type of quilt would be my Whale but since the finishing of that first quilt, a secondary BOTM (Natures Garden) and the third Albatross called Petal Power Duo, I have indeed come a long way in a short amount of time.

In the beginning I knew absolutely nothing about applique, except for that one piece of fabric would sit atop of another and be stitched down. I hadn’t looked at any stabilizer products much less used any on my first quilt. And one would think that in this day in age, something that sounds so simple would be simple. Maybe it was before the days of the interfacing and stabilizer revolution. I have talked to several people now about their preferences in products and  applique techniques, and though it seems that they have their favorites due to finding something that worked the first time out or an old stand by because their mother used it, it almost seems as though they have a limited opinion or next to none about the wide variety of products and how to utilize them to their advantage. A friend of mine (who has been quilting for 20+ years) confided in me last week that she didn’t know how to do applique and could I show her? Of course you know this just spurred me on to try every product within reason, test it on different type, size fabric pieces and this is what I came up with.

Pellon makes great stabilizer products. There are several types to choose from and each one has a specific purpose for which it is made.

Pellon Wash-N-Gone

Pellon Wash-N-Gone is a magical little number if you are working on a quilt with applique  that seems to have a million little pieces made up of circles, leaves, petals, stems and/or your doing embroidery/monogramming work. Wash-N-Gone stabilizes your product and at that same time, save’s you the trouble of trimming or removing the excess as it dissolves in any temperature of water. FYI, don’t handle with wet hands, it works that good.

Heat’n Gone

Pellon Wonder Under or Heat’n Bond Fusible Web is fantastic as it is an iron on product. This is great for a medium size applique projects or to use on any one individual cut out. To keep your applique from being stiff on your quilt, you would have to use the webbing on the outside edges of your cut though. Trying to remove the inner excess afterwords is hard work and risky.

Pellon Stitch’n Tear

Pellon Stitch’n Tear is fabulous to use for large applique in size and quantity. It’s thicker and stiffer than other stabilizers, which makes it easier for pinning and leaves your finished product laying flatter than others that might come out with a little poof.  Especially if you satin stitch your applique. Stitch’n Tear is cheap, so you don’t feel bad about anything you waste and the time you save for not having to cut  the excess away with scissors is, well… you cant put a price that.

And finally, a word on  “fabric glue stick.” Use it. It’s simple, cheap and it works. I rubbed it on the backside of the flower petals and stuck it to the block where I wanted it. I ran an iron over it and it stayed for days before I got around to sewing it together. I haven’t had the opportunity yet, to try any of  the spray on adhesives other interfacing/stabilizer brands like Peltex or Sulky but I imagine they all work pretty well and much the same.

As I always, I hope you found this topic interesting if not useful. If there is anyone out there who has a testimonial on this subject, I would be very interested in hearing it. Have a great day and happy stitching.

Advertisements

How does your Garden Grow?

Apartment living doesn’t really provide space enough for anyone to plant and enjoy pretty flowers, ferns or any other leafy green one might find in a garden or patio display. I’ve taken to making paper flowers recently, so that I might enjoy the loveliness of such things indoors for longer than a week. and I know it’s hardly the same but I’ve found that quilts do provide a happy ever after place for flowers and other garden life.

Yesterday, I finished the top of my Natures Garden quilt and as I mentioned in my last post “Heirloom Projects” I was as good as my word, changing the design to suit my fancy and making it entirely my own. I think I actually like it better the way I made it versus the way the picture displayed it as far as the sashing framework goes. I cut and sewed the vine work in a reverse fashion because that’s what rebels do and because I’m me, there are quite a few more embellishments (flowers, vines & leaves) than the pattern called for. I love taking creative license with my own things. I was never one to color outside the lines as a child and to make something different other than what the directions called for would have been inconceivable to me before. I don’t exactly know when my ability to make changes on the fly occurred, I only know that I’m quite okay with it now and I’m having great fun with my new-found artistic freedom.

As I’m getting ready to send this quilt off and am in the home stretch with my third rag blanket for my grand daughter Lily, I am about to ramp up a long awaited project. My next quilt is going to go to Michael, who has been patiently waiting for me to make something just for him. I will no doubt be posting a little something about it soon. Until then, have a happy creative day.

Heirloom Projects

Michael and I have been thinking greatly upon the number of quilts we have managed to make recently and how many we will have in the home at our disposal in a month or two. It has been our desire for the love of fabric shopping, designing, sewing and the art of quilting that sent us into quilt making motion. And as you know, things in motion have a tendency to stay in motion.

In the most recent past, Michael went on a quilt book buying spree in the which spurred on many an idea for upcoming quilt projects. Inside Thimbleberries “Quilting a Patchwork Garden” we found a very simple pattern (block within a block) in green with a clean white background. The pattern is called Sage Garden and is every bit as lovely as the book depicted. Micheal made one for a friend of mine in the green and white, then we proceeded to make a few in other colors that we wouldn’t mind having about the house. Though they are newly made and are awaiting the long-arm quilters touch, we decided to have them custom stitched to give them an heirloom appeal.

Speaking of Heirlooms, I happened to actually look the word up to see what qualifies as an heirloom by definition. This is what the Encarta Dictionary had to offer: 1. Something Handed Down -something valuable that has been in the family for a  very long time and has been passed down from one generation to the next. 2. Something Inherited by Law-An item of personal property attached to the estate that a legal heir will inherit.

After 40+ years of purchasing/collecting material things, a person would certainly have an item or two to pass down. In our family, as money will probably be the least of these things inherited, it has become apparent that our quilts will most likely be our legacy to our children. I love putting together blocks of the month because for the most part all the pieces are already cut out and the predetermined fabric colors all compliment each other. Each one has a theme befitting a season and you can put it together as quickly or as leisurely as you like.  There was a run on the Persian Plum block of the month (due to it’s popularity) and many people were frantic on how to get the rest of the blocks to make the whole quilt. Luckily for me, I went for Nature’s Garden instead and left the Persian Plum to my husband to make.  When we find that blocks are sparse we make an effort to get all the ones we need so that we can at the very least get all the blocks for the top put together. Of course, when you make a block of the month, there are many a cookie cutter quilt out there that looks just like yours. To make it my own and special to me and/or my family I have decided to give my BOTM my own personal spin. Whether I go off pattern just a touch or add something that wasn’t there before, I can forever take pleasure in knowing that even though many people may make the same quilt as mine, mine will be different.

Block 8 of Nature’s Garden sold at Joann’s Fabric

Rules of Fort Making (Y’all thought I was kidding didn’t you?)

Just in case some of you were wondering if I was going to make good on my word regarding my summer list of things to do that I posted previously.  I did indeed, make my fort.

I’ve been making homemade forts all my life. I think I have used every substance known to man, however the best stuff for making an indoor fort is  still bedding and unused furniture. Sheets are great if you want a little ambiance lighting. Their usually big enough to get the job done and thin enough for light to loom in. I prefer blankets and quilts for they’re size and heftiness. I never worry about tearing a corner of a quilt.

As a standard rule, you should always leave someone standing guard outside to keep your fort safe from intruders and to take the password of the day from those who are allowed.

Its always nice to have a bit of company while your in your fort. I invited my cat Ollie inside and of course he thought it was a fabulous idea.

 

 

A fort is not complete without all the comforts of couch cushions, covered in your favorite quilt. And of course snacks are always a good idea. I have a juice pouch, teddy grahams and my laptop of course.

 

 

Indoor forts are fun to make because they are easy to put up and fast to take down. I love kicking back in forts and reading or playing games on my phone or laptop. It reminds me of tent camping which I don’t get to do very often anymore.

Creating a fun time out

So my confession is, I didn’t go to the gym last night so that I could stay home and get down to the business of sewing Block 6 which was an applique’ to my Natures Garden quilt. You know the one…the one I said I was going to have finished a  few weeks ago. Yeah, that didn’t happen. I was GOING to do it and then Michael happened. He asked me to beg off my projects to help him finish the applique on his Arbor lane that he was trying to finish so that he might actually get it sent off to the quilter. So I did and while I was already off track, I made another quilt. Anyway he finally finished and is now in the stage of binding. Can I get an Amen? So tonight I’m on block 8 (another applique’, big surprise right?) which is going to take all night, I might be able to dig out the fabric I had in mind for a project I’ve been carrying around in my head for the past couple days.  24 hours is quite a long time and depending on your activities, it can make for a very long day but most of the time I find myself saying “their just aren’t enough hours.” So in light of the fact that I have to get my butt to the gym after work and pick up where I left off last night, I will have to shelve putting the project together til Friday. In the meantime, here is a few other things I wanted to share the other day when last I posted, but didn’t quite have it all together. This is what happens when you post while at work. Shhhh…don’t tell anyone. So, while I’m stalling for more time…check this out.

I don’t know how many of my readers live in Texas and how many of those live near the metroplex but Dallas really is a one stop shop for food and fun. And the one thing that I have learned over the years is that:

  • People will travel to spend time in a worth while place.
  • The best time a person has anywhere, is usually recommended by someone else.
  • The well informed negotiates map directions, parking, ticket buying etc…better than the average person who flies by the seat of their pants. In short, be prepared and you will enjoy your outing a hundred fold.

Dallas Museum of Art 1717 North Harwood St. Dallas, TX    

Hours of Operation

Tues-Wed     11-5     Thurs             11-9     Fri, Sat-Sun     11-5

Closed on Monday

The third Friday of the Month (excluding December) the Museum is open until Midnight and there is a site dedicated to activities for Late Nights.

Admission: Adults-$10     Seniors & Military Personnel-$7     Students-$5     Children under 12-Free

Last year, every first Saturday used to be free admission, I don’t know if this is still the case. I do know you can get a $1 discount with your Dart ticket and there are free days for students and educators, please refer to the link for details –Admission

Admission to the Museum for late night is half price I believe and if you are looking to do and see more, you can purchase tickets for the Nasher Sculpture Center along with your Museum of Art tickets. It brings the cost for general admission for adults to $16 and $12 for Military & Seniors but you save yourself $2 to $4 bucks if you were going to buy both anyway.

To Parents  – Every Wednesday in June and July the  Museum of Art offers activities geared around children. Their site talks about exploring the world of art through sketching, family tours and story time. See their website for more details.

Nasher Sculpture Center2001 Flora Street   Dallas, TX     214-242-5100

Hours of Operation

Tues-Sun     11-5

Admission – Mirrors the ticket price to the Museum of Art

Again, the third Friday just like the Museum, there is late night festivities that’s free of admission. There are live concerts, movie screens in the gardens and opportunities for much fun and socializing. Some people say that nothing worth having is free…I disagree.

Dallas World Aquarium – 1801 North Griffin St.   Dallas, TX     214-720-2224

Hours of Operation – Mon-Sun     10-5     

Admission

Adult – $20.95     Children – $12.95

I recommend this place over the zoo (for now) only because this is an indoor activity that is more parent friendly to take kids. Just as a warning, it is an aquarium…with wide open space,waterfalls and tanks of all kinds, so there is a level of warmth and humidity in here.

This is what I have for now. I wont bore you with anymore text but before I go, I will leave you with one final link for your dining experience while your in the Dallas area – Dallas Dines Out

Have fun everyone and Bon Appetite!

Got Kids? Beat the boredom!

Many years ago I remarried and my husband and I blended my three children with his four and we had kids ranging in the ages of 10 on down to 2. Needless to say that trying to work and keep children on their summer break happy can be a struggle at times but when you don’t have much time or money to spend, it forces you to get real inventive. Summer can be a little more brutal in some places than others. Popsicle pass down among the children was always a popular event but once snack time is over what do you do with them the rest of the daylight hours? Here is a list of fun projects you can do with kids of almost every age that takes little time out of your day and the least amount of money from your pocket.

10 COOL THINGS TO DO WITH KIDS

  1. Create a sidewalk Muriel
  2. Custom tie-dye shirts for summer
  3. Build a homemade kite
  4. Construct a blanket fort
  5. Design a flower garden in a baby pool
  6. Turn something old into something new
  7. Introduce cooking to your kids
  8. Start a summer book club
  9. Scrap book your memories
  10. Make treasure boxes for keepsakes
The “how to’s” for everything on this list can be found in a Google search. For some of these there are more than a few sites to choose from and I leave it to you to pick the one that’s best for you. The following site has very fun and age appropriate ideas for those with small children – http://freestuff4kids.net/101-things-to-do-with-kids/ and if you have kids ranging from 6 to teens, this site has awesome, creative projects that cost $5 and under – http://dollarstorecrafts.com/
My kids are all grown and gone now. Michael and I have been empty nester’s for the last 4 years already. But I love crafts (in case you hadn’t noticed) and regardless of my childless state, I am still going to do a few things this summer from this list. Probably starting with the blanket fort then onward to making the homemade kite, cause that’s how I roll!

I’ll do “Nothing” when I’m dead.

Bundled Fabric & Paper Peonies

Today is Saturday the 23rd and over a bowl of Pozole with a side a cornbread, I got to thinking about a great many things, most of which concerned my life and how I’ve spent my time. As far back as I can remember which is about the age of two or three which is farther than I needed to remember that I was never really bored as a child. I rarely sat around to watch TV or play video games and I’m struggling to remember a time when I lazed about and did nothing. I was fairly active and spent most of my time outdoors. My fondest memories though are the one’s spent inside, making something. Coloring and drawing on my bedroom floor is one everlasting memory but finger painting, spin art, clay, tri chem pens and shrink art were favorite past times of mine. One of the things I can say about my mother is that she instilled the love of crafts within me and to this day we share DIY crafts from afar. We have spent years now, sending each other homemade cards and letters filled with scrap papers, stickers and other ready to use stuff.

I don’t know if my hand at crafts this weekend is prompted by my nostalgic mood but so far, since yesterday, I have delved into making paper Poppies & Peonies. I finished Pillows A La Mode’s 5-minute project; which sadly, took me a few weeks to get around to doing and I still have yet to find the one pattern that will make the bundled fabric above come to life but I’m certain to remedy that by dinner time. I couldn’t very well post this without showing you my tape dispensers new home. I used some fat quarters purchased at the Dallas quilt show to make this very cushy, happy fabric basket. I thought the fabric was darling though I was at a loss (at the time) as to what to do with them. Just goes to show how handy it is to have a ready stash!

My cute, cushy fabric basket & decorated tape dispensers