Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Fabric storage - the latest edition

Over the years I have stored my fabric in a variety of ways. I've never really found a way that works for me until recently.

Prior to the latest change I was wrapping the fabric around comic boards (too flimsy), or foam core board cut to size (too much work). Then I switched mostly to cardboard. I was cutting up medium flat rate postal boxes and that was working well for the most part. The problem I had was the cardboard took up space on the shelves. Each mini bolt was only a few inches wide so I ended up having to rows of mini bolts on each shelf. Of course I couldn't see what was behind the first row.

Then I came across a video showing how to use your 6" x 24" quilting ruler to fold your fabric. Brilliant! The above picture shows one shelf of double rows neatly folded. That leaves me a lot of breathing room or room to buy more fabric.

Miss Mocha likes this new fabric storage too. The bottom shelf has denim, faux leather, wool, etc. I've since added an old sheet to cover all the fabric on the bottom shelf so it doesn't collect kitty fur. Also, don't look too closely at my floor. This used to be Robbie's bedroom and it had those sticky linoleum tiles and most of them have become unstuck. I'm not 100% sure what I will be doing with the floor but for now I have these garage floor foam padding tiles layed down where I iron and cut. I have an area rug for my sewing area and desk.

Here is the finished bookcase. I have the fabric in groupings like holidays, novelty, solids, and the fabric that is only for projects for me and not the shop or friends. I can easily see what I have and I can find a fabric so fast now. If I want to make a fish quilt I can see at a glance if I have enough fish fabric or if I need to order some. It only took me two days to sort and refold and that wasn't even full days working on it. I think this is going to work for me for the long term. 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Beaded skull brooch

Over the years I have collected beads, buttons, and other little bits and pieces. Sometimes I've used them in projects but mostly I've just collected them. I don't have much, it all mostly fits in one of those Christmas cookie tins but I want more :)

I've always had this idea in my head that I could combine embroidery floss, sequins, and beads to "paint" a picture. Like everything else that we crafters think is "new" it's been done. Search bead embroidery on Google or Pinterest but don't blame me if you get lost in the time suck ;)

A few weeks ago (I have so much to get y'all caught up on) I felt drawn to try bead embroidery. I've been watching as many videos as I could find on YouTube and just had to play.

So I made a black and red beaded brooch with a mini skull accent. I learned a lot with this piece. The main thing is almost anything can be fixed by just stitching on some more beads.  When all the tutorials tell you it is best to add the beads only 2 at a time it's best to listen. I'm one of those people that is willing to do as you tell me but I need to understand why. Nobody said why I should only add two beads at a time until I watched a video yesterday. The reason you only stitch 2 beads at a time is so that they lay flat. BAM! That makes sense and will make my next project even better because there will be more. Many more.  Have you looked at beads and beading  supplies lately? All the colors and variety are just gorgeous. Good thing beads don't take up much space and overall they're not very expensive.

The back is a piece of suede with a pin back. My back is cupped a little so I'll need to figure out why. I didn't pull the beading thread too tight so that's not it. Maybe it's just that I need to put something on top of it while it dries so it flattens out. I guess I'll just have to make more beaded embroidery pieces to figure it out. Darn. lol

Friday, August 11, 2017

Mystery quilt along

Over on Quilting Around the World  I lost my mind and joined a mystery quilt along.  I say I lost my mind because I do not like mystery quilts generally. I already have a hard time choosing colors and fabric placement so when you add in the fact that I don't know what the end quilt will look like it gets very hard for me. For this mystery QAL we are secret agents, I am 006, and we're supposed to interview witnesses (pick fabrics) and arrest suspects (make blocks), etc. So I joined.

So each week I have been cutting fabrics and sewing them together as directed.

We made lots and  lots of 3.5" hsts.

We made lots of 4 patches and these blocks where you stitch 2 rectangles together. Then we were told to stitch some of the hsts to the stacked rectangle mini blocks but not all of them.

The triangle in a square I had to paper piece because there was no way I was going to get those triangles cut and sewn together and have them be the right size. This kind of paper piecing I don't mind. It's only three pieces of fabric so it was easy. I think I made 72 of these.

Then we all got stuck on these blocks. It took a couple blog posts and a video or two to get these figured out.

Mystery quilts are hard enough but I think this was the first time our leader headed up a mystery QAL. Or the blog/website she got the info from didn't do a very good job with the directions. With each clue there seems to be a little bit of info missing that would make things easier. Little things like finished block size. It's helpful to know what size to square up each block. Some I could guess or figure out on my own but the triangle in a square or that square in a hst? I need all the numbers lol. I know how hard it is to keep 50 or 60 quilters corralled so I'm honestly not complaining. I'm just grumbling cuz I know better than to participate in this kind of mystery quilt.  No matter, I'm sure I will love it when it's done.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Hocuspocusville block 9

I finished the main embroidery on block 9 of Hocuspocusville by Crapapple Hill Studios. As you can see I still haven't purchased the glow in the dark thread for the signs and pumpkin eyes. I'll probably wait until the blocks are mostly done before I go out and buy more floss. That way if I need more Halloween colored floss I can pick that up at the same time. The less time I spend in a craft store the less money I can spend, right? I'm still enjoying working on these and that's a good thing since there are 12 blocks and I'm on number three. I like having a long term project like this because there's no pressure to get it finished right now. It's definitely not for Halloween this year and who knows if it will be done for 2018. Creating should be enjoyable and not always full of pressure to finish.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Burp cloths

My daughter has a friend who had twin boys earlier this year. What do you do when there's a new baby or two? Why make burp cloths of course!

I had four cloth diapers left in my stash so I made two Nemo and two math burpies.

The father is a Florida Gators fan so I had make a couple of those.

These burp cloths were made with quilting cotton (the skateboard one is flannel) on the front and fleece on the back. My oldest son has friends who are going to be new parents in a few months so I will be making more burp cloths. They are my go to baby gift. You can never have too many burp cloths.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

It's a banner day!

I keep seeing fabric banners on Instagram and thought I would try making some. They were actually pretty easy and fun to make. Every time I see the above picture I always see a mouth full of teeth lol.

I made a little template to make pressing the triangles easy and even from a file folder. I like crisp edges so that you don't see the other fabric peeking around the edge.  One side has pink and the other is green.

I've moved my craft supplies around the house several times in the past and I couldn't find my bias tape makers so I had to make it the old fashioned way. Other than that these go together quickly.

This set would fun for a baby shower or to hang in a baby's room. Both fabrics have letters scattered all over. The triangles are about 3" across and 6" tall. 

They were fun to make and I want to make more but other than Halloween and Christmas fabric I'm not sure I have enough coordinating fabrics in my stash to make a cohesive banner. Might be a good reason to go shopping? I wish. I'm trying to use up what I have before I bring more fabric into the craft room. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Wall Art Review

Recently I was contacted to try out a new product. I actually enjoy being a product tester. Sometimes I'm familiar with the brand or product but many times it's something that's new to me. I know I tend to do a lot of online research before I spend my money and I greatly appreciate honest reviews of products.

 Like these Wall Art Panels from CSI Wall Panels:

First I was given the option of choosing MDF wood pulp or Sugarcane fiber paper pulp panels. If you go to their website there is shop by material option. Leather would be nice in an office or den.

I was able to choose from a limited selection of designs but there are many options available on their website. You do need to click around a bit because they have the designs separated by collections, materials, rooms, etc.  I chose "Splashes" because I liked the recessed areas and the bubble feel to the panels.

I had to choose the sugar cane panels. I do love recycled materials but I based my decision on the fact that my father had a row of sugar cane along the edge of his property as a wind barrier. When my kids were younger my father always cut down a stalk for them so they could eat the sugar straight from the cane. I definitely make decisions based on memories and emotions.

Here is the information for my box of panels:

Panel Size: 19.68" x 19.68", 275g
Material: Sugarcane fiber (Bagasse) Paper pulp.
Thickness: 1.5mm on flat areas, .50" on Dimension areas.
Features: DIY Product, flexible, Lightweight & Paintable
Package: 12 panels/Box. Covers 32.29 sqft/box
Color: Comes only in its Natural off white color

These panels are very light weight. You can feel that they are a paper type product and are a recycled material. They remind me of those recycled paper trays from cafeterias or those drink carriers from fast food joints. 

The back is a bit rougher than the front but if you chose to you could honestly use either side. Of course the front is smoother as you would expect. These panels come to you in their raw form and are meant to be painted. Each panel is identical so they nestle in their box nicely. My box was shipped to me and each and every panel arrived perfectly fine and undamaged.

In my box was a sheet of basic directions on how to hang the tiles and these spacers. They're basically the same as you would use for ceramic floor tiles.

I'm not exactly sure how I want to use my tiles. I don't need to hang them all on one wall though. I want to use them in a few different rooms and I'm not sure what colors I wish to paint them so for now they are staying natural. My plan at the moment is to go up to Lowe's and pick out some paint samples and paint each group based on the room they will go in. Once they are painted I will pop back in with an update post. Some bloggers have used them as head boards while others have hung them on the ceilings of smaller rooms. I love both ideas but the one I'm drawn to is to hang them either as a group of 2 or 3 and use them as art as if they were paintings. I like the idea of 3 in a row with the wall color showing between each tile.

I wanted to see what you could do with this type of material so I took one panel and played around a bit with it.

I went ahead and taped off a couple of the bubble puddle areas. When I chose this design I thought it might be fun to have a white background and then paint the "hills and valleys". The acrylic craft paint I used went on smoothly with no trouble. 1 or 2 coats would be plenty.

I thought I was being smart by using painters tape to mark off the areas I painted. Nope. I forgot that these are not primed and are basically paper.

When I removed the tape it pulled off some of the paper too. Rookie mistake. A recycled paper product definitely needs to have a base coat applied first. It seals the panel and makes the other paint colors easier to apply and let's them pop.

I also thought mod podging fabric or pictures in the valleys might be fun for a playroom or craft room.  It was a bit difficult cutting the fabric and magazine picture to fit perfectly though. Maybe measure from the back of the panel?

Since I was using this as a test panel I thought why not try markers or Sharpies?

Markers are not the best option if you are coloring in a design. If you wanted to sign a panel or write some words the black Sharpie would work nicely.

My next test was spray paint. I had two options in my paint stash. I have to say I much prefer the Valspar spray paint. It sprays evenly and doesn't drip. I am a novice spray painter and I need all the help I can get and Valspar made it a simple process.

The white paint didn't spray well and it dripped a lot.

The directions say to spray paint your tiles after you hang them but I think that might be meant more for new construction because they were using one of those commercial sprayers. I would not feel comfortable spray painting them in the house. I don't see any reason why they couldn't be painted before you hang them. Here is a YouTube video that shows the basic installation process of a similar tile.

I had some grey touch up paint left over from painting the grey room so I gave that a try. It's a semi-gloss paint but looks more like a flat paint on the tile. I imagine it's because the tile is a bit porous. A base coat could solve that problem.

When I took the two tiles out to lean them on the table for pics one of the tiles slipped down between the table and the wall and hit the floor. It's tough to see but the very tip of the corner is a bit dinged and dented. The big fold is something I did to see if you could fix the tile if it did get dinged or bent. When I unbent the corner you could still see the "wrinkles" so it's best to be careful with the paper tiles.

When you hang the tiles all the "hills" don't match up so I thought I would try cutting the tile in case someone wanted to match the hills and valleys a bit better. It was very easy to cut with my craft room scissors but I don't think I would bother messing with cutting the tiles just to make them fit better. It would be hard to get a nice straight cut. If it bothers you that everything doesn't match then choose a design where it isn't noticeable.

Installation is pretty straight forward. Like most products you want to put them in the room they will installed 48 hours before installation. This way they can acclimate to that room's normal temperature. That might be more important for the wood panels but it doesn't hurt to let the paper ones sit for a couple days. The surface you are applying them to needs to be smooth and clean. I think these tiles attached to plywood or the back of a bookcase would make a nice room divider.

You add adhesive to the back and using the spacers stick it to the wall. Then you can caulk the spaces in between the tiles. After this is when they say you can spray or roller paint the tiles.

They show someone using those tubes of adhesive like tough as nails in a calk gun but since these panels are only paper and light weight you can also use Command strips. Then they wouldn't be permanent or damage your walls. Perfect for renters.

Not that I recommend this but it is super easy to stick a push pin through the panel. It will leave a hole in the panel and your wall of course. I plan on using the Command strips to hang mine.

Yes, I know my panels are crooked. I just quickly placed these on the wall so you can see what they look like hanging up. As part of full disclosure these two panels are hung with a couple rolled pieces of masking tape on the backs. I told you they were light weight. Of course the tape won't hold for long but it does give you an idea of how light they are.

Over all I really like these panels and I would consider purchasing some in the future.

Here are some social media places so you can see more:

I was sent a pack of 12 panels to try free of charge from CSI Wall Panels but all opinions are mine.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Hocuspocusville - Block 1

I love hand embroidery. I love Halloween. I love quilts. 

I've wanted this pattern for awhile. I don't remember when I bought the pattern but it sat in my stash for awhile because I couldn't decide on background fabric or floss colors.  I decided to quit overthinking it and go with a medium grey fabric and neon embroidery floss in a handful of colors. I need to take a better picture though. As I said the fabric is a medium grey and I went with bright neon orange for block 1. I was thinking of using a glow-in-the-dark floss for the signs or at least the writing on the signs. I need to do a bit of shopping for glow-in-the-dark floss to see what colors are available. Not sure what I want for the writing but I would like some glow yellow for the pumpkin eyes.

I'm really enjoying working on this project when I just want to sit and relax and watch a movie. Hand embroidery is great for those times when you want to keep your hands busy but you don't want to do anything that requires thinking or math. It's even better when you don't have to change floss colors.

This is block 1 and if I decide to go with the layout in the pattern it will be in the upper left corner. I don't mind having the blocks around a center design but I doubt I will go with the on point 9 patches in the center. I might go simple with a fun Halloween fabric panel or create my own applique design for the center.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Speed Podcasting Episode #17

I was fighting with my phone this week so I did a little speed podcasting. It was crazy but fun.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

My beautiful bleeding swap quilt

Many, many moons ago I participated in several swaps either through a blog or Flickr. I was part of a Quilting Bee swap on Flickr for a year I think. I'm pretty sure my color scheme for this particular swap was rainbow.

When I was going through my wip bin I came across the quilt. It was already quilted and just needed binding. No clue why I never bound it but it's done now. I found a piece of binding in my binding bucket and it was almost long enough to go all the way around. I just added a small scrap that I stole  from another left over binding.

The shadow of my hand and phone makes me giggle for some reason. 

I just meander quilted it. It's my go to quilting because it doesn't need to be perfect and I love how it gets all crinkly after it's washed. Of course I used cotton batting so it could be crinkly. I also like how thin yet warm a quilt is with cotton batting.

The only problem I had is this one square ran when I washed it. I used two color catchers but that didn't save it. This isn't the first time a quilt has bled on me but it is the first time I couldn't fix it. I google for some solutions and asked on facebook but nothing I tried worked. First the red ran and when I got that under control the orange ran. After the third run through the washer I gave up. My daughter saw it on facebook and fell in love with it blemish and all so now it hangs on the back of her couch. All three kids have curled up on the couch with it so I'm happy. Even though it's Summer one of their couches is under an a/c vent and the ceiling fan and sometimes it gets chilly on that couch. 

Mandy told me every time she looks at the quilt she sees something she didn't notice before. Now I need to go back to the wip bin and find a quilt for the other couch. One for her brothers because I have a feeling that once it gets cool again she won't be sharing. ;)

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Working on WiPs

Several years ago I joined a quilting forum called Quilting Around the World. I was really active and joined in the conversations and did a few swaps but I got a little lax last year. On this forum if you don't post each month you're considered inactive and your membership is closed, so I accidentally went inactive last year. They send out emails to remind you but I guess I missed it. No worries, I just rejoined again. The only thing is you start back at the beginning.  This forum like most gives you a rank title based on how many posts you post. Oh well.

Anyways... One of the quilt-a-longs we are doing this year is the year of UFO/wips. You list 12+ projects that have been forgotten and you want to finish them this year. Each month 2 numbers are drawn (one main project and a bonus project) and based on your list those are the two projects you work on. You can win prizes (I've won twice woohoo) if you show progress or finish one of the drawn projects each month.

One month my main project was this apple core quilt that I made using Thimbleberries fabric. I made the top years ago when I was trying out the new Go! cutter apple core die. It's put away at the moment but it is a small quilt good for a table runner or a baby stroller. There's a few wrinkles but overall it turned out alright. I am much better at sewing curves now so I think I might need to make another.

Here's the back. The binding is just a gold that I found in my stash that seemed to match. The back might be a Thimbleberry also but I'm not sure. I bought a mystery box of scraps and all these fabrics were in there. I remember the apple core pieces had the selvages still on them.

Another UFO I finished was these placemats. If I remember correctly I was making bags with these black and white fabrics but my daughter saw them on my design wall and wanted them for placemats. I can't argue when one of the kids (okay grown children) want a handmade item for their house, right? The backing fabric was something my daughter fell in love with when I found it at a thrift store several years ago. I bound them in red because red is her favorite color. I made her a black, white, and red quilt about 8 years ago that she absolutely loves.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

It's Plaid - the graduation quilt

This handsome devil graduated high school in May. Cocky little brat. He's my youngest and most challenging child. He thinks differently than his older brother and sister. I had to change my parenting techniques several times while he was growing up. He has always loved to debate so I wasn't surprised that he took debate classes throughout his high school years. He challenged everything even if he didn't care about the topic. He won many discussions with me because he is such a good debater. It's hard to say no when the other person has all the right answers to make it a yes.

This is a picture of Mandy and Robbie. When Mandy graduated in 2009 he wore her robes so they did a remake of that pic. Robbie is 6'4" so poor Mandy is drowning in his robes.

Robbie has been wearing plaid shirts and shorts since middle school. I took several of his outgrown shirts and cut them apart to make a graduation quilt for him.


I used Forest Bricks from Mary Quilts. I've made this pattern a few times and I always like the finished quilt.

I even had a little helper.

Miss Mocha loves to bury herself in clean clothes. Anytime she sees a pile of clothes (or fabric) she dives right in.

This last picture is when I was playing with the layout. Everything was going fine until I realize not all the blocks were going in the same direction. When I was sewing the tiles into blocks of four I didn't think it would matter how they were stitched together. I thought since it's square that if one way didn't work then I could just spin it and it would work from that direction. Nope. I figured that wrong so I had to unsew about a third of the blocks.