Monday, November 28, 2011

Update and a frame up!

   The last and I believe final batch of doll quilts made by Mrs. Clauses across the country, Canada, and France......they will be delivered this week to the workshop for the elves to match to a doll bed,  stroller or cradle.  I did some quick calculating and figured out that I have quilted enough of these in 3 weeks to equal at least 2 full size quilts!  ;0)  Happy dance, and lots of hugs to all who helped  make this project a huge success in MHO.  Final number, you ask.....83!!  Not one too many, not one less than needed, but exactly the number those elves needed to fill their orders.  Now, doesn't that give you goose bumps?    I can't say thank you enough.

 I have 2 lap quilts ready to quilt for gifts, but I have been looking for something small that I could give everyone as  gift from my hands and heart.
  I ran  across a neat little project at Bejeweledquilts that would make quick gifts for Christmas.  So here's the first attempt at the photo frame.  I used narrow cording instead of ribbon  to hold the photo in place.  I tried a second one, and decided the cording is a plain pain in the neck to get it placed just right. 
    Light bulb moment!!!     How about corners like in a regular old-fashioned photo album?   The first try and I got the corners a little too large,  One more time and I do believe I figured it out.

One the top one I used 2 1/2" squares folded on the diagonal, and the bottom photo of fur-kids---and Deana holding Phoebe--- used 2" squares and worked much better. 

My second change to original pattern is to use interfacing to give the center some support for the photo.  The first one I finished with batting and just a few lines of straight stitches for quilting.  It seemed just a little floppy.  A little interfacing  does make a big improvement. 

Fabric Photo Frame....
  • Measure your photo to be sure of the center size.  I used 4" by 6" photos. 
  • Cut center rectangle fabric the size of photo plus 3/4".  Mine was cut 43/4" by 63/4".
  • Cut medium weight interfacing to photo size.  Mine was cut 4" by 6".
  • Fuse interfacing to the back of the center fabric, centering the interfacing and leaving seam allowance clear on all sides. 
  • Cut strip of fabric 2 1/2" wide by the full width of fabric.  If you are using scraps, piece them together to get 4 sections at least 10 inches long.  ( A great waste not idea!)
  • For the folded corner holders....cut 4 squares at 2".  Press in half on the diagonal. 
  • To the right side of the center square place a folded triangle in each corner matching the raw edges.  Pin in place.  (Note:  The shadow area you see in the above photo is the interfacing on the wrong side of the center rectangle.)  
  •   Place border fabric right side to the right side of the center rectangle.....the corner triangles are sandwiched in between the 2 fabrics.   Stitch together using a 1/4 inch seam.  Press open.  Repeat for all 4 sides.  Press and square up to the size you desire.  Make sure the corners are square.
   Now create your sandwich to quilt and finish off.  I did 2 the regular quilt way and used binding to finish the edges.  A quicker finish is to do the pillow edge finish.  I did a short version to explain this when making the doll's a little more detail.
  •    I make a sandwich of batting on the bottom, the backing fabric right side up, and the front fabric face down.    The batting and backing are cut oversize--about 1 inch or so.  I press all three layers together and pin with a few straight pins. 
  • Then stitch around all 4 sides, leaving a 3 inch opening for turning.  The batting is against the feed dogs, and the front fabric is face up and is my guide------just stitch 1/4" from the edge.  
  •    Then turn the sandwich over and clip away the excess batting....right up to the stitching line.  Keep your scissors flat and against the fabric and cut the batting away.  
  • Then trim the extra backing even with the front fabric. 
  •   Clip the extra fabric from the can get really close.  Now turn the frame right side out....poke out the corners with a turner or chopstick---it works for me. 
  • well.  I use steam and press first from the back, making sure the seam is on the edge and not tucked inside. 
I then also press from the front and make sure the opening is even.  Stitch  along the edge about 1/8"  from edge to close the opening.  Quilt it with a few straight seams.  
Questions...let me know if I wasn't clear.
Here's the group I finished up today.
I love matching the fabric and style to different personalities.....I know the purple one is going to Natalie, and the batik one will go to Justin.....yes, Deana, you can have the Abbey Road fabric one. 
Oh, to hang them up????   A strip of adhesive magnetic tape on the back and they can go on the fridge.  Or just a pushpin and onto the corkboard.  A ribbon loop and they can hang anywhere.  Just a great small gift, stock stuffer idea.
OK, got fabric, need to quilt....happy stitching.
P.S....before I sign off.....please be careful out there on-line.  Run your virus scan daily.  Be careful about opening emails with no subject....and don't click those links in them.  Just a word to the wise. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

'Tis the season

  I really felt the need to create, to try something new this morning after cleaning up the mess in the sewing room.  I still have the last 2 doll quilts from Mrs. Claus in Indiana---thank you---to finish up.  But a little play time beckoned.
  Scraps of deep reds and greens on white.....a little bit of "bottled" Christmas to make a candle mat.  I am sure you have seen the bottled rainbow quilts around blog land....with just random scraps grouped by colorway set in  mosaic style on a bordered background.   They are usually done in the quilt as you go style by stitching directly on to the batting for each block and then joining them.  Since this one was to be small, I just created 3 panels, stitching the scraps--raw edge covered with a zig zag stitch-- to the white. Then I added borders in the usual way.  I even got to use my new Sewline glue pen....yes, I do like it a lot, not messy and easy to hold. 

  I decided to trying some pebbling for the quilting in the border.  Tiny pebbling......I love the texture it gives, but my circles are all different sizes and uneven, and boy,  does it take a ton of thread to do.  This requires practice.  I think I will leave that for another day.   Happy stitching.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Holiday tradition

  Update on Get Your Mrs. Claus On:  An email from Richard "the Elf"..... The first delivery of doll beds and cradles went to St. Anthony School.  "The sight of all the blankets bowled her over. She was most appreciative. Thank you again on behalf of the kids."    A few more quilts arrived......and I got 6 more finished up.  I will get photos of the latest group this weekend.  Thank you again, to all the Mrs. Clauses.

 It's going to be quiet Thanksgiving here--no cooking! no leftovers, yay!... so I thought I would get a jump on the December preparations.
  There are always one or two things that bring back memories of past holiday seasons.  For me it is when I pull down---or rather ask Sir Old Man to get down ---my Mom's old dish pan.   It's an old enameled oval one with dings and dents, white with black trim, and the size of a turkey roaster.  It's just the size for a triple batch of a family tradition.....Chex Mix!  And you thought I was going to say cookies.
  This pan has been filled with cookie dough, snapped green beans for canning, strawberries we picked  for jam, and so on.  It resides on the top of a kitchen cabinet now.   But once again, this year is brings forth the memories it holds.

My mom used to make batches of her Chex Mix and give it to the neighbors, the mail man--he would wait each year for his bag--and then bring up  huge gallon size jars  filled for the family to devour over Thanksgiving or Christmas. 
  One year I made my mix and used Emeril's Bam seasoning and got it toooooo spicy.  I have since learned that  too much Bam is not a good thing. 
And last year, Remy was introduced to this snack.  He quickly figured out which pieces he liked best, the cheez it crackers,  and then he would try to put back the pretzels and nuts! 
My  triple batch version is simple:
1 box each of corn, wheat, rice, chex cereal
1 box of cheez it crackers
1 large can or jar of honey roasted peanuts  (slight sweetness to balance the salty)
1 bag of butter flavor pretzels
3 sticks of butter melted
7 Tbsp of Worcestershire sauce
3 teaspoons of season salt
1/2 teaspoon of garlic
  Combine all the cereals, nuts, and crackers and pretzels.  Combine melted butter with seasonings.  Drizzle over the dry ingredients and toss well to coat.  Spread onto large cookie trays and bake at 250 degrees for 1 hours and 15 mins.  Stir every 15 minutes.  Cool and store in air tight containers. 

  Now it is time to wash the dish pan, dry it well, and store it back on top of the cabinet.   Do you have something that holds wonderful family memories?
  I am thankful for all the wonderful things in my life, and all the trials.  I am thankful for projects begun, and projects finished....and all those scraps.  I am thankful for sunny days, and misty mornings, and moonlit nights.  I am thankful for hands to hold, friends to call, and those who touch my life along the way.  These are the moments that take my breath away.   A happy and blessed Thanksgiving to you all.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A photo finish

80 + doll quilts........

 OK, I still have 6 of them to finish off completely, but the end is in sight.  Now, that I see them all I know why I have been so tired.  I know I could not have managed this without so many who helped.  Thank you.
 Look for plans for the 2012 campaign in September of next year.  I plan on making a doll quilt from the scraps of each project I finish during next year to have a head start for then.  I hope you will join me and become a Mrs. Claus, too. One more time......... Thank you to each and every Mrs. Claus who helped make this project a success this year.  Blessings to each of you.
Happy stitching.....Debbie

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A little hope in the mail

  Have you ever been so busy,  involved in a project, just going on adrenaline, that you hit the wall and wonder how to finish?  It is day 14 and I am almost out of steam.  And just when you need it most a little something comes along and lifts you up.............for me, it was a doll quilt top.
  This arrived from Mrs. Claus in California .  A cardinal featured on this one!  A heart lifted when I saw my personal symbol of hope.  It reminds me to cherish all the things in life.   I use a cardinal in my quilts, either on the front or back.  It symbolizes the gift of my heart and who I want to be...energetic, one who loves life, and helps others when I can.  Even in the darkest of times, there is hope.  
  So thank you, Teresa, for giving me a lift.
The stack is reminds me of the "Princess and the Pea" fairy tale!  New quilts added from Mrs. Claus Quiltnanny and  Mrs. Claus City/Sandie from the HGTV Quilt Message Board.  Thank you so much.  And a big hug and thank you to Mrs. Claus from Gray Court that spent the afternoon with me yesterday finishing up the dozen tops in the workroom. 
  Happy stitching.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The quilt tale of Mrs. Claus continues

   Mrs. Claus  did a drop in visit to the toy shop today and caught the chief toymaker, Tom, painting a few doll strollers.   See the cradle drying (on its head).....a volunteer artist had been by to do some special  painting for the elves.    A peek into the small room and what did she see?   Doll beds, and cradles, and strollers in all stages of assembly.  


 Then back home to find packages on the door step.....full of little quilts.  The stack is growing!

Wonderful little quilts from Mrs. Claus in Texas--Nicki from the HGTV Quilt board, Mrs. Claus in FloridaMrs. Claus in Georgia,   Mrs. Claus in Kansas .  Thank you all so much......
   The phone rings......What?  Yes, I think so.
It's that pesky elf again.....the one who is making toy deliveries on TUESDAY!!!!  Yikes, he wants 35 quilts.  Quick do a count, do I have enough for Tuesday?  1,2,3,.....................53 finished quilts!  Yes, we can.    
   Just to let you know, no quilt turned away, all loved, and all are needed.  The toy makers are pulling out all the stops and working in shifts to fill  the toy wishes of little ones across the area.  The first delivery is to The Children's Hospital.  The Ronald McDonald House has sent in a list too, now. 
   This Mrs. Claus has lots to do before she rests--10 more to finish in the workroom, but she wanted to share her thanks and appreciation to each and every one of you--I am trying hard not to overlook  a single one of you---- for helping in this project.   Can you tell I am excited?   Hugs and happy stitching. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Still got your Mrs.Claus on?

The growing stack! That's my husbands childhood chair under all the doll quilts....31 finished doll quilts.  Six more yet to be finished in the workroom.  And I got a note from Bea in France that she put a doll quilt in the mail today.  Visit her blog, say hello, and enjoy.  She does wonderful scrap quilts a la Bonnie Hunter.
Before the weather changes tomorrow--rain--I wanted a couple of outdoor photos. 

The doll quilts are so colorful, and such variety in the patterns and fabrics.  I kind of went over board on some of the quilting I did on the unfinished ones.  Do you remember that I  like swirls?

These are just the right size for practicing on.  A great way to learn to free motion quilt.  I used YLI soft touch thread for these. 
   If you still have your Mrs. Claus on, check in with Shelia  at her blog and read about her pillowcase project for Shriner's Hospital.  I hope to get a couple made to help.
Happy stitching.

Monday, November 14, 2011

A quick tutorial--raw edge

  Thank you all for the votes and support.....Remembrance won the in the weekly contest!  So awesome.....

Update:   The mail truck arrived while putting this together.....and she wanted to know what was going on!!  Packages from Mrs. Claus in Kansas, Texas, Utah, and North Carolina arrived today.  Photos and details tomorrow.  Thank you so much.  I am so excited.  Now, to the tutorial.
   Among the emails this week, was a question about raw edge applique .  That sparked me to do a doll quilt--what else?--with this technique.  This hasn't been washed yet, but the edges will fray and fluff up when it is.
    So here is a quick tutorial for this simple technique.
For the background I sewed 4  3-inch strips together to get the width and length I wanted.  If you want to do this in a block to block construction, cut your background block to the desired size.

Find a pattern of a flower, or draw your own onto freezer paper.  This is a single layer flower with a center and leaves.  The shape is slightly curved, with shallow curves.  You need one flower, one center, and one or two leaves for each applique. 

Cut out the pattern and press it on to the right side of the fabric for the applique.  Cut out the fabric by the pattern.

Decide on placement for the applique.
Remove the freezer paper from the fabric.  To the wrong side of the fabric, dab a little glue in the center of the piece to hold it in place.  I used lapel stick----a little too much here, but I wanted it to show :)
 Then place the pieces onto the background fabric.
Note:  You can just pin the appliques in place, if you prefer.  If you are using multiple layers, then pin and do not use glue. 
Then set your sewing machine to a small stitch, about 20 stitches per inch.  I used  white thread so my stitching would show up.  Normally I would use a matching color.....but once the raw edges fluff, the white will not be noticeable.  Stitch about 1/4" inch from the raw edge all the way around each applique. 
 Note:  If you are using 2 or 3 layers on top of each other for the flower, then cut away the background fabric inside the stitching line before adding the next smaller layer.  Add the next layer, stitch and cut away the underneath fabric each time.  This eliminates the bulk from so many layers of fabric. 

That's it....easy, quick, and so cute.  OK, off to finish up some things.  Happy stitching.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Reporting from the workroom

  Day 7..................This is the final assembly set up in the workroom in South Carolina.  Doll quilts ready to quilt, doll quilts sandwiched and ready to stitch, stack of backing pieced, stack of batting ready to go. 
   I met Mrs. Claus from Greer and added her 2 cradle quilts to the growing stack.
  Then the mail arrived and  Mrs. Claus in Ohio sent in 10 tops for the project. 
Visit Mrs. Claus at The Morning Latte and see her wonky stars!  So cute.
Then drop in to see Mrs. Claus in Utah at The Rogue Quilter

It was like Christmas here when I opened the box from Mrs. Claus in NC  a couple of days ago.  She included some backings and batting and the nicest note with the 12 tops. 
  Please visit  these Mrs. Clauses and leave them a comment, say thank get the idea. 

 And one more reported via email from Quiltnanny on the HGTV cute and colorful.  I can't stop saying thank you.

The stack is growing.

Did you 7.  Only one week  Yes, so much response and help coming in....I do believe we are going to accomplish this!!!
Two more Mrs. Claus signed up this morning......I will update as things arrive.  Thank you to all for the help.
Back to stitching.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

For all our Veterans

Remembrance......Poppies standing tall in the sunshine to honor our veterans. 
  Bea, my lovely friend from France, emailed me to remind me I did not post about this. ( I only entered it in the weekly contest at Quilting Gallery  at the last minute when Michele asked for entries. )  I figured I had enough on my plate to do with the doll quilts!
   The background for this wall hanging is partly a watercolor that I blended with light colored batik cobblestone blocks.  The poppies, standing  proud  in the sunshine, were machine appliqued and accented with a little thread painting.  There are several older posts about the design  and  here, too . 
     The symbolism of the poppy---from Flanders Field poem ---touches us all.  Many gave so we might live  free.    Thank you.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Quilt Tale #5

  I have a dearly loved quilt made by my grandmother for me.  There are patches cut from my old clothes among the pieces.  It went with me to college and is well worn, and stored away now.  Many of us have one of those, or have made quilts from our father's ties, old blue jeans, and thrift store shirts.  I ran across this story on the Bloggers Quilt Festival and received permission to share it with you.  It's a great story that reminds us why we quilt, and not letting go.

This is a tale of recycle and salvage.    The quilter planned her design  around the idea of using a pile of blue fabrics from her stash, and  included some  fabrics from work shirts belonging to her husband, some old jeans and a bunch of non-standard quilting fabrics.
  Let me add here, that the pattern caught my eye first.  Of course, it would.  It's a bargello.  And I do have a thing for bargello patterns. 
But, read on.

   The quilter  says, "Unfortunately, one of those fabrics in particular did not work out as planned. ....  It was a Chinese brocade made of polyester/nylon. I knew it probably shouldn't have gone in the dryer, but... well... sometimes these things just happen. And sometimes they happen more than once. I didn't realize when I made it that it would become the house favorite and greatly abused. It has been used as a picnic blanket, a throw, a dog bed, it's gone camping...... but the dryer has destroyed that brocade and, clearly, it needed a rework."
  Yes, repair was needed.  And her first thoughts were to replace those worn patches.  But here she gets very creative and has a light bulb moment! 

Patches equal applique!  This quilter salvaged her family's  much loved quilt  by appliqueing  hearts over the worn and frayed patches.  And it lives on for another season of family fun and love.
  So...recycled fabric and clothes makes quilt the family loves.  Time and use causes wear on some fabrics.  The symbol of love rescues the quilt for the family  that loves it.  Recycle and Salvage.

  Moral of this quilt taleSalvage that  family  quilt with love.  It has more adventures to go on!

Quilt tale is from Cecily at Craftopotomus (click here to read her original post and get the details on how she accomplished this salvage).  Thanks so much for allowing me to share your quilt tale.  It's a great story to remember. 
Happy stitching.
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