Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tuesday

Today is not a happy day for me. I had to put my beloved pet, Brit the 14 1/2 year old dog, to sleep today. I never had any children of my own so I felt like my animals were my kids. I cannot really concentrate on much today (or this past weekend knowing what was coming.) This has been one of the hardest days of my life. I hate being weepy, but that has been my day.

The good thing was that it is a lovely sunny day today and at least God made that happen for me today. I needed the sun on a day like today.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I am ready for Spring (and I am sticking to it!!)

Does the month of February seem long to you too?? Being the shortest month of the year it sure does know how to linger....today it snowed here. I was walking into the school building around 8am and felt the intense burn from the wind hitting my ears (bad day to tie it back.) I wore the jacket without a hood too thinking it HAS to be getting warmer! Ha!!! What a fool I am! This blistering cold just blew my mind-it almost sent me into an asthma attack. I was glad for the warmth of the building, another 10 steps outside and I would have screamed! LOL! Well not really.

When I got up at 6am I sat down on the couch to watch the morning news on WTHR channel 13. Treeboy Tim Bush shows his segment on "Think Spring" (watch the video on the upper right side) and I was all excited to propagate and start my seeds now....so from there my mind went crazy. First I need a space for all these plants-so I think: "easy!! upstairs East window"....problem is that is my actual sewing area. So now what?

Move the sewing area to where?? My unfinished dormer. You know the one that has a really long full size bed (specially made for someone that was 6'7"-got it when I bought the house.) The dormer is FILLED to the gills with excess collectibles, linens, fabric scraps, holiday decorations, and etc....I used to have a booth at an antique mall, so that is where all that stuff is. Oh my goodness what a mess. So my plan is to gather up that stuff and have a couple of flat rate box auctions each week until it is gone! But first I must organize some other areas to make room!

This includes clearing out and painting the walk-in closet right outside the dormer to turn into my fabric closet. I plan on having shelves and cabinets for storage in there.

I need more room, so then I go to the basement....to do some work there- paint a couple of areas and so forth. I will be getting rid of a lot of stuff!! I plan on having a rummage sale Memorial Day Weekend where I can sell that long bed off!! Stuff will be leaving the basement too....lots of stuff.

Anyway I figure by the time the end of April hits I will have my sewing room done. Hopefully!! It needs lots of work to finish it since it is unfinished. I will have most of May to get ready for that sale!!

Mmmmm so if you are wondering I am putting my sewing on hold starting tomorrow...unless I have some special orders!! The sewing equipment is going to be moved upstairs to collect some dust for a bit. I have a couple of items to stitch up tonight that is on my UFO table and that is it!! The only reason I would get it out is for special orders-cause those are special!!

Now back to thinking about propagating those plants......going to fit that in too....I WILL be gardening this summer-MUCH MORE than last summer.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Happy Birthday to me on Etsy

Yeah, it is my 1st Birthday on Etsy....

Pattern/Instructions are all $1.99!! What a sale! Not sure when this sale will disappear yet, so don't wait too long!!

Link to patterns

Monday, February 16, 2009

Goodbye to Soft Drinks

This is such an off the wall topic, but I am proud of it and wanted to share. I have always, since I was a kid, had a keen addiction to soft drinks, particulary Dr. Pepper. I have not ever been a fan of diet soft drinks either and always wanted the real thing. I would have at least 1 DP a day since I can remember when.

During our Texas trip right after Christmas, I had tons of DP because that is what DH and the in-laws drink too. It was very accessable in their house which was a bad thing for me!! LOL

Well when I got back to work at my high school, one of my student-athletes and I were discussing New Year's Resolutions. He had mentioned that last year his was going to give up drinking pop and he made the entire year. So on New Years Day he celebrated with a 2-liter. Well he still does not drink pop. He said he just feels better without it...and now that it is a habit why change back?

So it got me thinking that it would not be that hard to quit drinking pop. I was interested to find out how much better I would feel with eliminating it from my diet. So Sunday January 11, 2009 I officially quit drinking soft drinks. Today is day 37. I have increased my coffee intake though...so my next hurdle is quitting the caffiene.

I think it was alot easier than I anticipated. I just needed to make the change and stick to it. So far so good and I don't plan to start up again!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Rag Quilting Tips Series #2 “Equipment/Tools”

Rag Quilting Tips Series

#2 “Equipment/Tools”

Writing about the tools used in rag quilting kind of makes me chuckle when I think of how I researched different ways to rag quilt awhile back. I mean come on: A Weedwacker? Really??? http://www.flynnquilt.com/freepattern.html

That is a man for you….my DH runs when I ask him to clip seams. Whatever!

So here are a list of tools I recommend for rag quilting and these will come in most handy for the new rag quilters yet to emerge from the cocoon.

To cut your fabric squares you should really invest in a cutting mat and a rotary cutter and a straight edge for time efficiency. My grandmother did it the old way with patterns cut from old cereal boxes which she then traced onto the fabric and then hand cut each piece. I did some of that too until I learned about the cutting mats and rotary cutters. With those tools you can cut several layers of fabric out at once. Wow! We love time savers!

A sewing machine- well that goes without saying really. I have 3 at the moment, each are a different age and each seem to have a special use as they are not all made equal. The only thing I really miss is having a machine that does a blanket stitch. Variety in stitches is a great thing when you go beyond the simple straight line stitching and start adding in appliqués, embroideries, and other types of embellishments. Find something that will fit your budget too. There are a lot of really nice high end machines out there that I would just LOVE to have, but it is not fitting for my budget so I make do with what I have.

Thread- I have used cotton and polyester threads. Here is the deal though: You should really start using 100% cotton from here on out if you will be making items for babies and small children. The CPSIA is the reason and I am not going into that topic for it would take me 3 weeks to write about that! LOL. You can search that one on your own if you are in left field. ---But about the threads. I used a invisible polyester thread and liked it at first, but found that it is not a good choice for rag quilting as the seams came unsewn after the washing and drying, so back to 100% cotton I went.

Also use NEW threads….sometimes older threads from estate sales are so old they become brittle when using. A newer thread will be a better choice.

Scissors or clipping tools- Here is my least favorite part about rag quilting: The clipping. It is messy. It is time consuming. It is stressful on my hands. And it is not really fun. Well that is my opinion! I have clipped over 200 projects! However, some rag quilters LOVE this part. They sit in front of the fireplace or TV and just clip away. I have used the Fiskars Micro-tip spring-loaded scissors for a long time now. There are some other brands out there too-just make sure they are spring-loaded. Another way to clip the seams is to clip before sewing the seams by using a special die-cut machine which can be a bit expensive for the novice.

I have this new toy to do all my clipping now. It was a Christmas present. I have an Accucut Mark IV cutting machine that holds a die with the raggy edges in it. Well it is a used one. Would love to have the Grandmark size, but got a good deal on the Mark IV and it gets the job done!

Here are some pictures of what is does to the fabric:

Can you see the clipped edges? You just position the fabric sandwich over the die and crank it under the pressurized roller and Voila! Another great time saver!!

The last few tools or equipment needed are a washing machine and a dryer to really bring out the ragginess of your project, and a sweater shaver for flannel fabrics. I think I mentioned the sweater shaver in my first submission so you can refer back to that on using it for the flannel fabrics.

Just a word of advice on washing and drying your project: During washing a lot of the lint from the seams will loosen and you will have to wipe out your washer tub after the cycle. This will also happen while drying so clean the filter off frequently. If you are doing many rag quilts- it is advised to go to the Laundromat for this process.

Well again if you have any comments, questions, or additional advise please add it here on the comment section.

My next submission will be:
"to prewash the fabric or not to"

QuiltingCorner Red Tag Sale on eBay

Yes you heard right. I am selling a few things on eBay.

I SAID EBAY!!!

Now that I have that off my chest (and in YOUR ear) and will begin by saying that a bunch of us girls in the Quilting Corner Group are having a RED TAG SALE to get rid of our unwanted or unused sewing supplies, etc. Stuff will be way cheap-just the way eBay likes it. Flea Market chaos at its best.

Search RED TAG SALE QCG on eBay and see what pops up. Or search this link I have here for you:

http://shop.ebay.com/?_from=R40&_trksid=m38&_nkw=red+tag+sale+qcg&_sacat=See-All-Categories

The sale starts TODAY Feb 15th and will end on Feb 22......so check it often and lets get some bidding up over there!!

Friday, February 13, 2009

I am a bit behind on things...

Well Wednesday I did not feel good and took a 3 hour nap in the middle of my work day. It was more like a 3 hour lunch you could say. I was planning on taking my test that day too, but had to delay it so I could study a bit more....I am taking an algebra class for part of my continuing education and it is really stressful. (Like I need that!) Got the test over with now and trying to catch up on some things, so my Rag Quilting tips are going to be delayed some....sorry!

We will have our step-son this weekend too, so that will keep us busy.

Everyone have a great weekend!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Monday Night

I am almost ready for bed....been reading blogs. I got a lot accomplished today: some chores around the house, my homework that is due Saturday, and some MAJOR sewing done.

Tomorrow (Tuesday) I am planning on studying for a Test I have Wednesday so I imagine my 2nd edition to the Rag Quilting Tips will be written on Thursday. Well that is what I am shooting for anyway.

I am still waiting for my Accucut order to arrive so I can clip the sandwiches I have quilted (stacks and stacks of them.) When I get them clipped I will have several projects to list...so keep an eye out for that. As long as the weather is warming up I am feeling very motivated to get things done....oh yeah I better get those taxes done too.....JOY!

Have a wonderful week!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Ahh the weekend! Snow is GONE!!

Yep it is the weekend.....well almost over tonight, but I wanted to stop and post before it is over. You know: weekends go so fast when you are having fun.

I finally got to spend some quality time at my sewing machine. I made sure I did all my not so fun things first and started in sewing about 1pm Saturday. I finally went to bed at about 11:30 pm. What did I do? 1. made a couple of fabric baskets, 2. made a pincushion, 3. made 2 candle mats, 4. cut an 8" stack of fabric squares to sew for today, 5. ordered plastic for my Accucut, and 6. made a list of sewing supplies I need to buy today.

Slept until 11am today. DH was sick so we did not get to church today. I am off now to go shopping and sewing again....post more later.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Rag Quilting Tips Series #1

Rag Quilting Tips Series

#1 “Fabric Selection and How Much To Buy”

For many, many months now I have been selling my various Rag Quilt patterns online (Etsy), (Bonanzle), (e-Patternshoppes) and have many of the same questions asked over and over: Is this easy for a beginner? How much fabric do I need to buy? And what kind of fabrics work best? To help answer these questions and more I have decided to write about it in my blog in a series format, so there will be more tips to come…

How easy is Rag Quilting? Hey, if you can cut the fabric straight and sew straight, then it is easy. The tricky part is knowing what to do with the seams and corners. I tell ALL my customers that practice makes perfect. Trust me, I did not do a good job on my first rag purse!! It sat on the UFO shelf for a couple of months until I figured out how to re-do some things. (UFO stands for UnFinished Objects for those who did not know already.) I actually put the entire “top” together and layered the batting and backing like a traditional quilt to quilt it, before I discovered “sandwiching the blocks” first and then quilting as I sandwiched. I laugh at myself now…Wow! I actually think rag quilting is the easiest type of quilting there is. If you have not tried it because you feel intimidated-don’t be! You will be surprised! I do want to stress patience though and lots of practice. With those two things you will be really good at creating rag quilted items!

What are the best fabrics to use in Rag Quilting? I have a personal preference in fabrics and that is a type called homespun.

In my experience homespuns fray in the seams the best due to their looser woven fibers. A homespun is a fabric that is, most of the time, plaid and will have the design on both sides of the material. When the homespun is used in rag quilting the blooms created by the clipped seams become full and are more beautiful, I think. However, I realize not everyone likes homespuns or maybe they are looking for something in a different type of print:

perhaps more girly, or with a baby print, or even a more manly print.

In that case a 100% cotton fabric with whatever print you desire can be selected. Now, there is some debate about the quality of fabrics used: ALL Quilt Shop Quality fabrics that are 100% cotton and designed for quilting are great selections! With other shops you need to be careful in your selections. There are some “printed on” selections that will not produce a very good fray or bloom when clipped. So check the overall softness of the fabric. If it feels more coarse or hard then it probably won’t fray well. Look at the cut end and see if the threads fray well- if so that will be what you want.

Another tip in buying fabrics at a shop other than the QS’s is to hold the fabric up to the light. If you see daylight- the fiber count is too low and you should keep looking. Too light of a fiber count will produce a lower quality creation, and you really want to create something that will last for years. (Just some things to think about.)

Also if you prefer to buy pre-cut fabric squares make sure to see if the fabric is QSQ or not. Some sellers only carry QSQ while others do not.

Chenilles, Minky, and flannel fabrics are also great selections to use in your rag quilting items. I have used new and vintage Chenilles. The downfall with chenille is that it can be really messy to work with, but they look great in the finished project. Minky fabrics are so soft a beautiful, but the threads to do not fray in the blooms, so they will keep their shape or look a bit curly. And flannels used on the outside of rag quilts are nice -and snuggly too. I have a couple of tips for the flannel:

1. If you use dark colors PREWASH them ESPECIALLY SOLID RED as it will bleed onto other colors during the laundering.

2. Select flannels that are especially made for quilting. They are of a better quality and do not pil as much when laundered.

3. IF cheaper end flannels are used then use a sweater shaver on the rag quilted item after it is laundered to remove the little pils. Cheaper flannels will create those little pils which will make your NEW item look USED!! Get a sweater shaver-it will save your project!!

One last note on fabric selection is this: Vintage fabrics can be used for these rag quilted items. I acquired quite a stash from my grandmother that I use all the time. Just understand that some fabrics might not work as well as others…try to use 100% cottons. If you are not sure if it is 100% cotton or not wad it in you hand for a minute or so and if it keeps a wrinkle it IS 100% cotton. Blends and other fabric types will not hold a wrinkle like 100% cotton will.

Now lets talk about the batting selections: I use a white flannel fabric for batting in most of my rag quilted items. Flannel makes the completed quilt warm enough to use in the winter, and light enough to use in the warmer months. I buy the flannel in bolts as I use quite a bit of it. Watch for sales during specific times of the years to get the best deals when buying entire bolts too. I also like the flannel because of the way it looks in the seams as it frays well too.

My other favorite batting is Warm & White or Warm & Natural. I have tried using a poly-fiber that was more on the thicker side after laundering. It was ok, but gave the item a more pillowy look. I have used it on the sides and in the bottom of my purses to give them more stability to stand up on their own.

My suggestion is to try out different types to see what you like best. Make a small candle mat or a coaster first to test out what you like.

How much fabric should I buy for this project? Well, obviously, that depends on what you are making. Look the pattern over to see what it says if you are using a pattern. Or I have permission from a friend, Fabrics N Quilts to use her calculator tool that I can share with you here. Some patterns will tell you exactly how much yardage to buy and others tell you how many squares to buy. The calculator tool will help you decide how much fabric is needed in making very small to the largest of quilts.

When buying fabric to make purses you will have to count how many squares are on each side. You can use the calculator tool to figure the amount of fabric needed for those too.

The calculator will calculate fabric for 1 layer-so you need to multiply that by 3 for the 3 layers. The middle layer will be for your batting. I hope this part makes sense!!


Well I am at the end of my first submission here, so one last thing to mention is please keep in mind that these are tips that I have experienced along my way of Rag Quilting. They are to be used as a guide to help you in your own Rag Quilting Venture. You may come to learn a new way of doing something or have a difference of opinion. That is fine. I welcome all comments, suggestions, or even additional information from others who might have an additional tip to share. I am all about getting good information out to others for the benefit of making someone else’s life better. Thanks!!

My next submission will be on Rag Quilting equipment and tools.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Feature #2 on "Hand Picks" on Bonanzle

Thanks to ThreeMonkeys

She featured my on her "Hand picks"
on Bonanzle. Thanks so much!!


Super Bowl Sunday....



So it is the big game. I am a Colts fan, DH is a Cowboys fan. We are rooting for the underdogs. So there! Go Cards!!

Ummmm...been doing housework: cooking, cleaning, laundry! Made Chicken Tetrizinni and Salad for dinner....YUMMY!


I listed a couple of items today for Valentines Day. Here are some shots of them.

Art Quilt of The Day

Bible Verse of the Day