Friday, June 27, 2014

Paper-Piecing for a friend

Have you ever tried paper piecing?  I just recently tried it - and surprisingly - it's so fun!  (I don't know why I thought it wouldn't be.)
I might have enjoyed it even more, due to how good it felt to sit down at my machine, since I was able to finally put down my paintbrush.  =)
I watched a few how-to videos, but when I tried it, I would get so confused with which direction the fabric would be facing, and how to figure out (from the back) if the paper was over the correct spot, and if it would cover the desired area once it was flipped backwards!  But then I watched a tutorial  (here) from Ellison Lane, it made perfect sense to me!  Loved her method!  And it made me fall in love with paper piecing.  Well - that, and this fabulous "70's Geese" pattern by Diane at From Blank Pages (available here on Craftsy).
I made it specifically for this friend I've gotten to know on Instagram.  She's the kind of person who is always doing thoughtful, giving things for others.  And yet sometimes I wonder how much is given back to her?  You know the type - devoted wife and mother, and faithful friend who's always there for you - always making and doing for others.  Ashley just moved into a new house which has a room just for her sewing stuff - and it has lots of bare walls.  I figured she needed to know how much she is appreciated (couldn't we all use more of that?).  And...she needed some help filling up all those fabulous bare walls.  =)

This pattern comes in several sizes.  I used the 18" pattern for this - and made it up into a mini-quilt. 
However, I'm thinking this would make a fabulous throw pillow, as well. 
I may or may not be making another one sometime soon.  You take a guess.  =)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Lately

Lately - it seems like I share most of our life through Instagram, rather than this blog.  It's so fast and in-the-moment. (I'm @julia_davis7)  But for all you who aren't on Instagram - here ya go!
 
Lately - I've traded in my sewing pursuits for typical summertime things... pool, parks... and some major painting and de-cluttering. 
I've been slowly working on a room at a time in our house, purging, de-cluttering, and organizing.  Getting rid of stuff is an amazing feeling, even though it's slow going for me.   I was inspired last year, by Sarah's 40 Bags in 40 Days concept (and her simple clear tips & tricks on how to go about it).  I never did get through our whole house last year.
Then a few months ago I stumbled upon Ann Marie's adorable blog, and she had some free printable charts and more motivation to get going...
So, I tackled our storage room first...
It's one of those rooms that's soooooo nice to have, but quickly becomes the dumping grounds for anything and everything.  I gave away/got rid of at least 8 trash bags full of clothes - 4 bags of stuff went to the Goodwill - and 2 big bags went in the trash.  Boy does it feel good to have it cleaned out.  Now let's see how long it lasts!
Lately - over the last 2 weeks - I re-painted our entire main floor, in Benjamin Moore's Revere Pewter.  Its a soft greige (gray/beige) and holds it's own against the greenish daytime light cast through the new windows, but we like it at night also.  (this is all that was left of our 5-gallon bucket of paint!)
Lately - Jack's been having 4-H shotgun practices to get ready for the big County Shoot, so we spend every Thursday evening (just like last year) at the shooting range - and while he's shooting, the other little ones are playing with cousins and friends, eating a potluck dinner, and generally getting covered in dirt. 
Lately - the local (and free) splash-park has also been a huge hit... (and this is how Blaize smiles when he says "cheese".)
Lately - oh yes - Audrey lost one of her front teeth on Friday... and her other front tooth the very next day! And the tooth fairly only forgot 1 out of the 2 nights, which is an improvement for us!  I absolutely love it when my kids loose their front teeth.  I think it looks so cute.  But then I'm always a little sad at the same time - once they loose those baby teeth, their smile will never look quite as young again - just a reminder of how quickly the days are flying by.
So - that's what we've been up to lately.  How about you?
 


Friday, May 09, 2014

:: How to make mini-dresden framed art

I have a particular fondness for mini-Dresdens.  They are vintage (which I adore!) - absolutely perfect in their cuteness - a great way to use up those small fabric scraps - adorable when made into potholders -
and even cuter when put in a frame with a special word or message embroidered onto the background.
I've made a handful of them at this point - and I plan on making many more.  My oldest daughter is already asking when I'll make one to hang in a frame in their bedroom.  I made this one for myself, as a reminder of the amazing redemption story that came out getting scammed when I tried to buy a new sewing machine.
They are fast, fun - and highly addictive.  So, consider yourself warned.  =)

That being said, here's a quick run-down of how I make them.

You will need:
- EZ Dresden Ruler (or other type) and rotary cutter/mat
- (20) small 2.5" scraps,
- center circle fabric
- background fabric 12" x 15"
- cotton batting 12" x 15"
- picture frame 11" x 14" (including mat for 8"x10" picture)

1. I used my  EZ Dresden Ruler (by Darlene Zimmerman) to cut out (20) 2.5" blades from my scrap bin.   
2.  Sew your 20 blades together and press seams in one direction.
(if you aren't familiar with how to do this, there are many on-line tutorials).

3.  Print out (on paper) whatever word/phrase you want to embroider, in desired size and font.

4.  Figure out placement of Dresden and words.
- Lay your picture mat on top of your background fabric (so you can see where to place Dresden and words).  Place Dresden on your background fabric wherever desired, and use 4 pins to tack in place.  (I do mine slightly off-center - towards the lower right edge). 
- Place your printed words underneath your background fabric where desired, and trace onto your fabric, using a fabric pen.

5.  Now lay your batting piece underneath your background fabric, and pin or spray baste layers.

6.  Pin Dresden more securely, and stitch in place.
(I like to do a double-stitch.  Sew around very edge, and then 1/4" inside first stitching line)
5.  Make your center circle, and stitch in place.  (I follow this tutorial - it's fast, easy and works perfectly.  Best way ever!)
I used a cup or other round object from my house to draw a circle in the size I wanted. 
Note: you could also do a raw-edge circle, since it won't have much wear in a picture frame.

6.  Quilt (or don't)

7. Embroider word/phrase. (I use a double-strand of DMC floss - but whatever is fine!)

--(Note, if you want to wash it and get a crinkled look, zig-zag around raw edges and wash/dry now.)

8. Trim to desired size (11x14"), zig-zag raw edges, and frame!

And there you go!!!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

:: A quilt for a very special cause

I recently made this Baby/lap quilt out of my Arcadia scraps from the Square One quilt I made awhile back. 
I donated it to a special auction on Instagram that @CraftersForCourage organized to raise funds for CourageWorldwide.  They were raising money for Courage House - a home for minor girls rescued from sex trafficking.  They desperately need fund in order to help more girls, and it was such a special thing to be part of.
Quite a few people donated handmade items, there were many generous bids, and over $5600 was raised for Courage House.  The very sweet Theresa (@luckyhanks) placed the winning bid on this quilt, and it was sent off to her a few days later.   And now it's freshly washed, crinkled and put to good use in it's new home.

Quilt Info:
Pattern - "Square One" out of Camille Roskelley's book Simplify
Fabric - Arcadia and some Moda Bella cream
Backing and Binding fabric: JoAnn Fabrics

Friday, March 14, 2014

:: Simple Girl Pattern - now available!

It's here!!  It's ready!! My "Simple Girl" pattern is finally done and available for download!!  (can I just say it: I'm excited!!)


I've made 3 of these covers in the past 2 weeks, and it is such a fun, rewarding project - and one that doesn't take much time.  For some of you, it could be whipped out in a day.  For me - where I squeeze in a few sewing moments here and there with my 5 little ones - more like a weekend or two very late evenings. =)
Like you, I have always wanted (and needed!) a cover for my sewing machine.  Not only to protect it from dust settling in it's nooks and crannies, but also from curious little fingers. =)  Recently I was able to look at a cover that my Grandmother made at least 30 years ago.  Hers was a picture of functionality (vs our generation's need to look-good-while-being-useful-at-the-same-time).  It was made with pre-quilted fabric and pre-made bias binding, but it served her for 30 years for the very same 2 purposes I was needing now. 

That faded yellow cover was exactly the spring-board I needed to design this Simple Girl pattern.  That, and the fact that I have a brand new Bernina 550QE that I really wanted to keep safe! (If you haven't read the amazing story of how I got my new sewing machine, you can read it here.)
 
For a downloadable PDF pattern of Simple Girl, visit www.Craftsy.com, or click here!!!
 
A few things:
1 -This pattern also has instructions on how to adjust the sizing to fit your machine!
2 - As seen in the pictures below, you can customize it to your hearts content.
3 - for instructions on how to make Continuous Bias Binding out of 1 Fat Quarter, click here.
4 - for instructions on quick and easy binding for your cover (or for a quilt too), click here.
 
Thank you to the sweet ladies who tested out my pattern when it was in the rough stages, and offered such helpful comments.  Their suggestions made this pattern what it is today.  Thanks ladies!  Here's a few of their covers...
 
 
Can you believe how creative they were?!  I can't wait to see YOUR Simple Girl cover!  Be sure to email me, or tag me (@julia_davis7) and tag your cover #simplegirlcover on your Instagram pictures!



Thursday, March 13, 2014

:: Quick and easy binding

So here's the quick and easy, for finishing the bottom edge binding for your Simple Girl cover. (or any quilt, for that matter...)
Stitch your binding onto the inside (lining) edge of your cover, using a generous 1/4" seam.
Your binding is now completely sewn onto the inside of your cover. Yay!
Fold your binding around to the outside edge of your Main Panel.  Using clips to hold it in place, topstitch along the edge of the binding. (Sorry about the different color of binding - but you get the general idea.)
And you are DONE!  (See...wasn't that easy?!)

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