Sunday, May 30, 2010

Another Wonky Block

For those who love wonky blocks, here are a couple made for thewendycity (Wendy) over in the Scrap Happy Bee group.

Wendy sent us the center fruit fabric and asked for a scrappy wonky log style block.  Hope she has fun with these.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend everyone--and take some time to sew!
Another Wonky BlockSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wonky Stars

Just sharing a couple of blocks made for 1toefeather1, a member in the Bee Scrappy quilting bee.  She chose scrappy wonky stars.  I rather like them.  Might have to make my own wonky star quilt sometime.

Here's the other one.  She chose an off-white/light cream base Kona cotton to send out and then we used scraps and fabrics from our own stashes to create the stars.  A fun way to get more variety to the blocks in a quilt then depending on your own stash for choices.  As you can see, I like bright fabrics.  They're so cheery and the total opposite of the gray overcast weather we're having in Oregon at the moment!


Feel like making your own wonky star?  Here's a great tutorial (its the one I used to make these) from the Silly BooDilly blog.   
Wonky StarsSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Virtual Quilting Bee

Ever joined a virtual quilting bee?  Well, if you're like me, you may have never heard of such a thing before. 

Back in the days of no televisions, blogs or iphones, women weren't all that different--they liked to get together and talk with their friends.  And with no Facebook or Twitter, this was how you kept tabs and got the juicy gossip.  Well, they were also an industrious group and not likely to sit idle, so they usually brought something to do at the same time as chatting.  The best of these get togethers were the quilting bees.  Women would trade blocks, sew and help quilt finished quilt tops.  Later in the evening, often the rest of the families would gather for dinner and fun.  Many lovely heirlooms were created with the help of many hands.

Today, that tradition continues with a modern twist--the internet.  A virtual bee is the same as an old-fashioned quilting bee only members don't gather at a house--they gather online.  Today's quilting bees involve blogs, digital images, Flickr and the postal service.  Men are even getting involved with quilting through these bees (and they are some of the better quilters!) and having a great time. 

How does it work?  First, someone decides to form a bee and decides on some guidelines.  Usually, there are twelve members--one for each month of the year--although there is no rule that says a bee can't have more members and just have longer rounds of exchanges.  Then, months are given out for sending fabric and choosing blocks.  If its your month, you pick a block and send enough fabric to create the block to each member of the group.  They sew up the block that month and mail it back.  The type of block depends on the Bee.  Some are senders choice, some focus on a specific color or technique and still others are scrappy.  By the end of the year, each member has 12 lovely quilt blocks (if they made one for themselves) for a quilt.  Everyone shows off their blocks and finished quilts (or at least the tops) online with the group.  The fun is in the sharing, communicating online and friendships that develop with people you might never otherwise meet--and of course, in having some help finishing a quilt top!

If you're into quilting consider joining a virtual bee.  You'll push yourself to try new blocks, make friends and even get some "work" done.  So now when you're chatting online and your spouse complains, you can answer, "Honey, I'm working on a quilt right now!"

Here is a website to get you started--be sure and check their Flickr group for the "I want in" thread to see who has openings. 

Quilting Bee Blocks

And here are two that I belong to and two that I host.

Bee Scrappy
Scrap Happy Bee
Bee White Black
Sew Buzzy

Just for fun, when you're there, check out the Master List thread to see hundreds of quilting bees. Many are currently filled, but you can still check out what the group is working on and see how a virtual bee goes. Members are very helpful and enthusiastic--but be warned! Quilting bees can be quite addicting. :)
The Virtual Quilting BeeSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Friday, May 14, 2010

Batman vs Superman

Have you ever had to sit in a room while two people argued out a rather pointless thing.  You know, the kind of argument that won't change anything, doesn't make one wit of difference, the subject of the argument will never know, keeps going through snarky little comments said just loud enough for the other to hear and, in the end, only leaves everyone giving each other the silent treatment.  (Yeah, those grown-up type arguments.)  And, if you're unlucky enough to be stuck in the room with them, you get to feel indigestion sit in slowly while irritation mounts, until finally you yell "Shut-up!" because the alternative reaction involves duct taping their mouths and locking them in closets while you try to bring back the Zen you had, had all day until that moment by sipping cold lemonade.  At which point one of the arguers says, "You can't tell me to shut-up."  (Hmm, funny, just did.)

So what was this grand argument about?  It was the age-old "my friend is better than your friend".

It goes something like this (names and subject matter changed to protect the insane).

Bob says, "I think Superman is the one super hero who's done the most for humanity.  He sure puts a lot of hours into stopping bad guides and reversing the spin of the Earth, you know."  (Now this is where a sane fellow would respond with "yep, he sure is super" and let it go, but of course you know that can't happen, now can it.)

Larry jumps in and says, "I don't know about that.  Batman has been working at it longer and he's much more of a hero.  He actually punches out the bad guys, while Superman only ties them up."  Now you have to understand that Larry has met Bruce Wayne, even worked a bit with him and would really, really love to be the next Robin the Boy Wonder.  Thus, Larry responds aggressively out of a sense of loyalty for his old friend Mr. Wayne.

Bob, responding to the aggressive attack to his hero, says, "Superman can fly and has laser vision.  And he did turn back time once.  Superman also fights injustice around the whole world, while Batman just stays in Gotham." 

Larry, incensed by the attack on his mentor, responds with, "Yeah, well, Batman works with the powerful and elite.  He also has his awesome utility belt full of tools."  (Elite?  Really, lets keep a perspective on reality here.)  At this point the tension mounting, George steps in to add his comment of "yes, Batman has really made a difference, like when he stopped the Joker from releasing a supertoxin that would have killed half of Gotham."  (The Georges of the world need to learn to stay out of things.)  This of course fires up the argument that otherwise might have died down after a couple more snarky comments.  But no, it now must continue--honor is at stake.

Larry and Bob begin slinging out the comments. "My hero can fly."  "Mine has a better car." "Black is more slimming."  "Superman's cape has a symbol on it."  "Batman has a better hero costume."  "Superman is not afraid to show his face."  "Yeah, well, Superman's fans are so stupid they can't tell its him with just glasses on."  (Now Larry, we don't say stupid.)  The volume continues to rise.

Finally, as the dog is barking and the yelling gets louder (hard to believe that was possible),  Sam says, "Guys, knock it off.  It really doesn't matter."  (But, apparently it does matter, because now Larry is mad at Sam for interrupting.)  Larry begins to snark at Sam.  Bob, feeling that Sam had helped defend his hero, jumps in.  This brings George in for more commentary.  No one is listening whatsoever, but everyone keeps on talking.  And finally, Sam just can't take it anymore.  "Just shut-up!  Stop making comments.  Who cares!" 

Larry responds with, "You can't tell me to shut-up!"  The snarky comments continue until finally Walter emerges and demands to know what is going on.  Everyone stops arguing and separates rather than say.  Larry sneaks off to talk to Walter separately because, well, he knows he's right.  Bob talks to George about something else while slipping in his points and Sam puts on a movie to ignore everyone with.  Thankfully, the dog stops barking.

Really?  Yep, really.

Larry.  Bob.  Get a grip!  Both Batman and Superman are superheroes.  They've both reached the level of awesomeness that has little boys dressing up as them for Halloween.  They're both in the Justice League for heaven's sake!  One works strictly in Gothman--his focus is the city's over-abundance of psychotic bad guys (see Larry, not elite, psychotic).  More than enough to keep one hero busy for life without trooping out into the world.  The other works from Metropolis but, being a journalist, knows how to get better coverage so he can reach more people to help promote justice and the American Way.  By working with so many "regular" folks, Superman feels he can help keep them from becoming part of some psychotic bad guy's band of wacky followers.  (Look at the damage Harlequin did as a follower of the Joker--nip that in the bud.)  Both are awesome.  Both are needed to keep the evil of the world at bay.  Batman and Superman would want you to fight evil, not each other.

Besides, we all know Wonder Woman would kick their butts!
Batman vs SupermanSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

A Quick Doll Blanket

I finished sewing up a little doll blanket from leftover scraps of another project.  It's all flannel--front and back.  Just a nice super-easy little project.  A lazy day project--you know, those days you feel like you ought to do something constructive, but can't motivate yourself for that hand applique quilt or tailored jacket.  This also is the perfect little beginners project.

(Thanks sis for holding it for me--I was feeling too lazy to set up a nice shot.)

Want to make one yourself?  Here's how: 

1.  Cut 3.5 inch squares of fabric (I used flannel because that is what my scraps were, you could use cotton, silk, whatever.).  You don't need them to coordinate--mine do because I had been working with a bunch of pink flannels at the time.  I also add in a few vintage pieces from my stash to increase the amount.  You'll need 56 for this size doll blanket.

2.  Arrange in a pleasing way (really, whatever looks good to you).  You'll want 7 rows of eight squares.

3.  Sew squares together.  I go row by row and then sew rows together.  Press each row before sewing it to another row.  I like to press the seams in opposite directions for each row (so odd numbered rows press all seams to the left, even numbers to the right).  When all rows are attached, press the entire thing--flannel stretches a bit so, while you don't have to baby it, be a bit careful not to stretch it out of wack.

4.  If needed, clean up any edges that need to be evened back up with a small trim.  You want nice straight edges.

5.  Cut out the backing.  For this one I used a 22 inch x 25 inch piece of flannel.  When working with flannel, because it does stretch, I like to give myself a little extra wiggle room and then trim the small excess off.

6.  Sew the backing and front together--right sides facing in.  Leave a 4-6 inch opening on one side--doesn't really matter which (if you have bigger hands you'll need the 6 inches).  Once sewn, turn right side out.  Push out corners with a non-sharp item like a turning stick, bodkin, crochet hook, etc.  so you have nice corners.  Press.

7.  At the opening, turn in the seam allowance and pin closed.  At this point you can sew the opening closed with something like a whipstitch, slipstitch or really any one that you prefer.  I use a kind of running stitch that goes between the layers so it doesn't show as much.  Mostly, you just want the edge sewn closed without stitches showing on the top and bottom.

8.  Topstitch around the edge of the blanket.  Give it a final press and done!

See how easy it was!  If you use scraps like I did, it doesn't cost much either.  I spent less than $4 at Walmart for the backing flannel (hey, this is a kid's doll blanket, not an heirloom) and only used part of the yard.  The rest was fabric from the scrap bag and thread I already had on hand.

This makes a great little gift for a child to wrap their baby doll in or for little ones a carry around blanket for themselves, and if you're just beginning to sew, don't worry--children don't notice if it isn't perfect, they just notice that you gave them something wonderful.
A Quick Doll BlanketSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

David Coffin Workshop Cancelled

Sadly, there was not enough interest to hold the David Coffin workshop this May.  We needed 15 attendees and were not able to get this, so it has been decided to cancel the workshop.

Hopefully, in the future, another workshop can be planned that will allow for better attendance.
David Coffin Workshop CancelledSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Scappoose Historical Society's Spring Tea

Well, you've seen the bags, so I thought you might enjoy some shots of the decor at the museum where the Tea is held.  This year's theme was--you guessed it--purses.  So everything from the tickets to the centerpieces to the rooms is decorated with purses and handbags.

The tickets were pink for one week and green for the other.  These lovely die-cut three dimensional paper creations were put together by ReAnna Sharp, the president of the Scappoose Historical Society and my mum.  (She's super artsy and was in charge of most of the decor and such for the Tea.)

The luncheon is held in an historic home that's over 100 years old.  You can see one of the tables set up--even the napkins were folded like purses!

The centerpieces were chocolates made in molds shaped like various purses.  Here you can see the coloring and lovely patterning on the pieces.  (There was oohing and aahing over these little gals.)

And a couple of shots of the decor throughout the museum.  The first shows an old fan and opera glasses with the purse--check out that bling!  The second was a beautiful black beaded handbag with a turquoise silk scarf and matching glass perfume bottle.

I wasn't able to stick around for food shots, but here is a shot from the kitchen where they were preparing to dish up the first course.

In all, its an elegant little event in the town of Scappoose, Oregon--and if you've ever been here, you'd know, there's not a lot of elegant to go around.  If nothing else, you learn to appreciate culture when you find it--and create some when you can't!

I hope you all enjoyed this Mother's Day with loved ones, and if you're ever passing through Scappoose, stop and tour the Watts House Pioneer Museum, you'll be glad you did.
Scappoose Historical Society's Spring TeaSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Noriko Handbag

I finished two more handbags the other day for the drawing at the Scappoose Historical Society's Spring Tea.  For these two, while using the same fabrics as the one's using the Amy Butler pattern, were made with the Noriko Handbag pattern by Lazy Girl Designs.  I had the extra fabric leftover from the previous handbags so I only had to get buttons, ribbon and canvas. 

The only changes I made during construction were as follows:

1.  I color blocked the cover panels with two coordinating fabrics.

2.  Because I used quilting cotton, I also added a light weight canvas interlining (basted to the lining layer) for more body to each of the four sides.  I added this canvas to the handles as well.  The results were what I was hoping for--stability for a handbag with flexibility in the sides.

3.  I sewed the button onto the front cover layer prior to attaching the lining to the cover.  It just made more sense to sew it on at this point instead of trying to attach it by reaching into the inside of all layers.  I used a small piece of heavy interfacing behind the cover where the button was attached to help provide strength for the closure.

3.  I didn't add a tassel--it just didn't fit the fabric style.

Here's a look at the two finished handbags.

I love buttons (I know, it could probably be classified as a weird obsession) so I had fun finding the perfect ones to coordinate with each fabrics.  The black one has a flower design and raised dots (the sparkly parts) which I felt carried across the dots from the blue fabric and the flowers on the black/white fabric.  The other handbag has a lovely pinkish shade which matches the lighter pink on the floral print and I liked how the shape seemed to have an outer circle and an inner circle like the dots on the fabric used for the upper portion.  I used a black velvet ribbon on the one and a yellow satin ribbon for the other.

Here's a peek at the lining used for each.

I didn't have time before the tea to set these up to show the fullness and shape (okay, I 'fess, I finished these at around 2 am today, tea at 11 am).  So, here's a look at the sides as pressed to create the side creases.  You can see that these little gals will hold all the essentials at around 6" x 9" x 6".

I definitely can say this is a sweet little handbag pattern that you need in your collection--and hey, it's free, so why not print yourself one today and give it a whirl.  (I think in a silk or brocade this would make a lovely evening bag too!)
Noriko HandbagSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
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