Monthly Archives: March 2009

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Fun Times

Ok, was that hysterical laughter I heard out of all you Siggy Swappers when I wondered out loud whether I could finish all of my siggy blocks in one day?  So. Not. Funny!  Boy, what was I smoking?  Those little suckers are taking forever.  For one thing, whose bright idea was it to put a thimble on my blocks?

Siggy Swap Block

‘Cause once you start, you can’t quit, right?  These thimbles are really taking some time, even though they’re machine stitched.  All that thread changing takes time.  {Sigh}  I will say though, that I’m really enjoying making these little blocks.  You have to love a block that gets cut to size after it’s pieced.  I love that technique — it hides a multitude of sins.  Anyway, I only got 20 blocks done on Saturday.  I have almost another 20 ready to go, and hopefully, I’ll have the rest of them done by the weekend.

Siggy Swap Block

In addition to the siggy swap, I’m participating in a scrap fabric swap with a small group of ladies.  This should be a fun swap — we’re exchanging fabrics and then the challenge will be to make a quilt with the fabrics before October 1st.  Or I should say a quilt top, in my case.  There’s no way I’d have a whole quilt done by then.  These are the packs of scraps that I sent out yesterday.

FabricSwap

That will conclude my swapping for awhile.  And that’s enough LOL!

In non-quilt related news, I met a few of my book group members last night to hear Geraldine Brooks speak.  I can’t even tell you how cool it was — what an interesting woman!  As you know, her Year of  Wonders is one of my favorite books.  And now I’m more excited to read People of the Book.  Her presentation was fairly short, lasting only about 30 minutes.  Then she had about 15 minutes of questions, and then a book signing.  I was in and out in just an hour, as I didn’t have to wait to buy a book for the signing — I brought mine along with me.  Here she is speaking.  Isn’t she cute?

Geraldine Brooks

We discovered a fun fact about her last night — she got engaged right here in Ft. Wayne! Apparently, she was a journalist in Cleveland and her now husband worked at one of our newspapers. On one of her visits here to see him, he popped the question. There were a lot of gasps when she revealed that little tidbit — I think we collectively, suddenly felt a little more important LOL. I mean, she grew up in Sydney, has traveled the world as a journalist, and she’s a “Pulitizer Surprise” (as her young son called it) winner. Don’t you think that makes us a little more worthy???

What a charming woman!  While she was signing my book I asked her if she had a relative in Australia that likes to quilt.  (Because some time ago when I mentioned on my blog how much I loved Year of Wonders, someone commented that they were related to her and I couldn’t quite remember who it was.  We figured it out though.)  She thought for a minute and said, “Well, I like to quilt.”  Ha!  I knew I liked her!  I wish I’d had the presence of mind to ask her more about that, but we went on to figuring out the link and then I needed to move on so she could get to the next signature.

Oh, and for you book lovers out there, someone asked her who she likes to read.  She said her current “crush” is Marilyn Robinson.  She loved Gilead and is currently reading Home.  Which is so funny, because MeMum and I had just had dinner together and MeMum told me how much she loves Gilead and that she was now reading Home too. {Insert Twilight Zone music here.}

So, if you ever have the chance to hear Ms. Brooks speak, go do it!  It was really enjoyable.  And if you ever have the chance to embroider 60 thimbles on exchange blocks, that’s really enjoyable too, but you might want to pass.  ;-)

XOXO,
Anna

Good Friday

Not The Good Friday, but a good Friday anyway.  Boy, thanks for all the purse thingy love! You guys are the best.  This week hasn’t yielded any crafty excitement at all.  I’ve been working on a few little things, but nothing is far enough along for show-and-tell.  After goofing off around here this morning, I went to MeMum’s this afternoon and we watched a few episodes of Monarch of the GlenMs. Yummers recommended it to me several months ago and we’re really enjoying the series.  Just the scenery alone makes it all worthwhile…and that’s not even counting the leading man eye candy!

Scruff

Anyway, as you can see, I didn’t take Paul back to TheSecondChild last weekend.  He’s just having too much fun with TheEmptyNestChild.  And besides, TheSecondChild is fostering a kitty for a friend (she had him in her dorm room and got caught…oops!) until school is out.  We thought we’d save Paul the trauma of a new kitty along with the move he’ll be facing when school is out.  In the meantime, he enjoys watching the sunset from the patio widow with TheEmptyNestChild.

Scruff

A few random things –

– Check out this cute quilt that Shawn is making.  I really like the interesting technique she’s using…not to mention the cute fabric and the size of the pieces.

– What do you wear when you clean your house?  I wear sweat pants and a t-shirt and look like a total slob.  You must go see THIS adorable outfit.  I LOVE everything about it and I’m hoping to change my ways.  Thanks for the inspiration June!

– Here’s some really cute little posy pushpins that I’d love to make!

– Now, I’m going to whisper.  Psst.  Come closer.  I just don’t get twitter.  Call me a dinosaur.  It just screams TMI (too much information), or information overload or something.  What am I missing???

Books

And finally, here’s a random pile of books in my living room. I’m hoping to read a little this weekend. Our book group has selected Geraldine Brooks’ People of the Book for this month’s selection. I loved her Year of Wonders, but for some reason I’m not really excited about this book. We’ll see. Anyway, totally by coincidence, Ms. Brooks will be in town on Monday night to discuss this book. In 17+ years our book group has only ever heard one other author speak and that was Barbara Ehrenreich speaking about her book Nickle and Dimed. That presentation was reasonably interesting, considering I thought her book was a bunch of (please cover your delicate eyes) Crap. I know Ms. Brooks is controversial in some circles too, but I have much higher hopes for her.

Tomorrow is siggy swap day for me.  I must get going on those blocks or they won’t get done.  Think I can knock them out in one day?  Hopefully I’ll at least make a big dent in them.  I hope you all have a great weekend!

XOXO,
Anna

A Purse Thingy

So, how was your weekend?  Mine was fun, but exhausting.  I decided to go and visit TheSecondChild on Saturday.  It’s a six hour drive, so I got up early and I was down there by noon.  I made a quick fabric shop stop and then TheSecondChild and I had a little lunch.  Then we had a fun-filled afternoon of cleaning the house he lives in with 2 other 22-yr. old pigs guys.  They had the clutter pretty well picked up, but boy, was it ever dirty.  While we were cleaning, TheFirstChild and SweetiePie called to say they were on their way home from spring break in a crowded vehicle of seven people and would I mind meeting them on the road (we were traveling the same route) so that they could move to my car and then I would take them home?  I was happy to have some travel time with them, but since we didn’t meet up until 10 p.m., we didn’t get to their place until 5 a.m. on Sunday morning.  I slept there for about 4 hours and then came home.  I’m getting too old for that college behavior!

Anyway, last week. before all that excitement, I had fun making some little keychain cell phone id coin whatever-else-you-want-to-throw-in-there purses.  I’ve seen little fabric/vinyl purses like this in the stores and I thought it would be fun to make some of my own.  I’ve been using mine for about a week now and I love it for the times when I just want to run a quick errand (not to mention how convenient it is to just pull my id purse out of my pocket instead of rummaging through my big wallet when I’m in the airport.)  Plus, I figured they will make nice little gifts for new graduates, bridesmaids, etc. now that spring is here.

Key Chain Purse

They’re pretty easy to make and I thought you might like to make some too, so I took some pictures of the process and thought I’d write a little tutorial.

Key Chain Purse

Here’s a shot of the back of the purse with my cell phone tucked into the little pocket.

Key Chain Purse

So, shall we start?  Here’s a picture of what you will need:

Key Chain Purse

Some scraps of fabric — I used three different prints.  You can use more or less, however you want your little purse to appear.
One 7-inch zipper.
One 3 1/4″ x 5 1/2″ scrap of quilt batting or heavy fabric like flannel.
One 3″ x 5 1/2″ piece of Heat and Bond or Wonder Under double sided fusible.
One 2 1/2″ x 3 3/4″ piece of vinyl.
One 6″ long piece of 1/2″ wide steam-a-seam.
One 3 3/4″ long piece of 1/4″ wide elastic.
One 5″ piece of coordinating ribbon for the zipper pull.
One keychain ring.  The ones I used came from Michael’s craft store.

Purse Back: Cut a 7″ long x 5 1/2″ wide piece of fabric.  Place the scrap of flannel on one end of the wrong side of the fabric and fold the other end over the top of the flannel.  This will sandwich the flannel in between the larger piece of fabric.

Key Chain Purse

Quilt this little sandwich however you would like — stipple, straight lines, or make up your own.

Key Chain Purse

For the cell phone pocket, cut another piece of fabric, 8 1/2″ long x 4″ wide.  Fold the fabric, wrong sides together, so that the 2 4″ edges meet at one end.  Sew a line of stitching next to the folded edge.  Then sew another parallel line of stitching, 3/8″ away from the first line.  This will form the channel for the piece of elastic.

Key Chain Purse

Feed the elastic through the channel and secure the elastic at each end of the channel with a tacking stitch.  Your fabric will now have a slight gather across the top.

Key Chain Purse

On the opposite end of this pocket, where the 4″ edges meet, sew a few lines of basting stitch 1/4″ and less from the raw edge.  You’ll use this stitching to slightly draw up the end of the pocket.

Key Chain Purse

Lay the quilted back on the table with the folded edge to your left and place the gathered pocket on top and to the bottom of the back so that there is a 1/4″ overlap along the left side.  Press that 1/4″ overlap around the folded edge of the back.  Slightly gather the basting stitches on the bottom of the pocket until the pocket is the same width as the quilted back.  Secure with a few pins and set aside.

Key Chain Purse

Purse Front:  Cut a piece of fabric 7″ long x 5 1/2″ wide.  From a piece of paper or cardstock, make a little window template that measures 1 3/4″ wide x 3″ long.  Place the window template on one end of the fabric, 1″ from the end and centered width-wise.  Trace around the template with a pencil.  Draw another window 1″ from the other end of the fabric.

Key Chain Purse

Draw another, smaller window 3/8″ in from each edge of the larger window.  Cut out the smaller window and then clip the corners of each window up to the outer lines.

Key Chain Purse

Turn the fabric over and press the 3/8″ edges to the inside of the window, folding along the pencil line.

Key Chain Purse

Fold the two windows, wrong sides together, so that they meet each other and press.  Slip the piece of vinyl between the two windows and secure with pins.

Key Chain Purse

Take the window to the sewing machine and topstitch close to the edge to secure the vinyl between the two windows.  Set aside.

Key Chain Purse

Now you need to make a piece of fabric that will go behind the window to form a pocket to hold an ID.  Cut a piece of fabric 5 1/2″ wide x 6″ long.  Place the piece of wonder under along the wrong side of one end and press.

Key Chain Purse

Peel the paper off of the wonder under, fold the end of the fabric over the wonder under and press again.  Now you will have a little wonder-undered sandwich of fabric.  Set aside.

Key Chain Purse

Assembly:  Take the 6″ long piece of steam-a-seam and cut it in half horizontally.  You will now have two pieces of steam-a-seam that are 1/4″ wide x 6″ long.  Flip the purse back over and press the steam-a-seam along the edge where the cell-phone pocket wraps around the folded edge of the back.  This is a little tricky, as the quilted piece will try and slip away from the folded edge that overlaps it.

Key Chain Purse

Peel the paper off of the steam-a-seam and center the purse back along one edge of the zipper and press until the purse back is adhered to the zipper.  This will help hold the fabric in place along the zipper until it can be stitched.  Repeat this step for the window piece, placing the steam-a-seam along the folded edge of the window piece and ironing the window piece to the other side of the zipper.  Be careful not to place the iron on top of the vinyl or you will have a sticky, gooey, melted mess.

Key Chain Purse

Stitch both the front and back pieces to the zipper, using your zipper foot and stitching closely to the edge.  You might need pins to help keep the quilted back piece tucked up into the edge of the cell phone pocket, so that the stitching will catch the quilted edge.

Key Chain Purse

For the little key-chain tab, cut a scrap of fabric 1 1/4″ wide x 1 1/2″ long.  Fold in 1/4″ on each long side and press, then fold wrong sides together and press again.  Stitch along the folded edges to hold the fabric together.

Key Chain Purse

Fold the little tab in half and pin along one edge of the window front, about 1 inch down from the zipper.

Key Chain Purse

Oops!  We forgot to place the wonder-undered sandwich of fabric behind the window to form the id pocket.  Ideally, you would do this before you attach the window half to the zipper, but you can do that now.  Place the pocket on the back side of the window, so that the pocket overlaps the top of the window.  If the raw edge of the pocket is longer than the window piece, don’t worry, you can trim it later.  The folded edge of the pocket will run along the edge of the zipper, but not necessarily right up to the zipper.  Pin the pocket in place.

Key Chain Purse

Flip over and stitch approximately 3/8″ from the edge of the vinyl on three sides of the window, leaving the top edge open.  Start and end up against the zipper.

Key Chain Purse

Fold right sides of the purse together, with the zipper forming one edge and stitch a 1/4″ seam along the three non-zipper edges.  Be careful when stitching across the zipper on each end — I like to use the hand wheel on my machine and take it slowly so the needle won’t hit the zipper teeth.  (Make sure you have unzipped the zipper at least 1/2 way before you stitch the 1/4 inch seams or you won’t be able to turn the purse when you are finished.)  Trim the ends of the zipper off.

Cut a binding, 15″ long x 2″ wide.  Press binding in half, length-wise, wrong sides together.  Sew binding around raw edges of purse, leaving tails at the zipper edge.  You can find instructions for how to sew the corners HERE — I did this binding just like you would a quilt binding.

Key Chain Purse

Wrap the binding around to the opposite side, tuck the tails in, and stitch the binding down.  I just left my tail ends raw since they’ll be protected inside the coin purse, but you might want to give them a prettier finish.

Key Chain Purse

Turn the little coin purse inside out, attach a key ring on the tab, stick the ribbon through the hole in the zipper tab and Voila! you’re finished!  (Note:  The corners will not pop out perfectly square because of the bulk of the binding.  This doesn’t bother me, but if it bothers you, you might want to make a bias binding and make rounded edges to your coin purse.)

Key Chain Purse

So, that’s it.  It seems long and involved, but each step actually goes quickly, and it doesn’t take very long to make one of these little purses.  Make more than one while you’re at it.  If you make any, let me know — I’d love to see them.

Have a good week!
XOXO,
Anna

Happy Birthday BigBoy!

Today is the 22nd anniversary of the birth of TheSecondChild!

Bike

I’ve always thought it was so cool that he was born on the first day of spring.  There’s nothing like a new baby when mother earth is waking up from her winter’s nap.  The birds were singing, the sun was shining and we were so blessed by the arrival of our little wild child.

Kangaroo

He hasn’t always been this way and I’m pretty sure I didn’t drop him on his head when he was a baby.  He did have a harrowing birth though, and the Dr. joked that he didn’t “lose a brain cell.”  If only that Dr. could see him now.  Does this look like a kid with all his marbles???

Flip

Our little angel keeps us hopping and guessing and entertained.  These days he seems to have a penchant for jumping and in just a few short months, he’ll be jumping into a new life as he graduates from college.

JumpOut

We’re all crazy about our BigBoy and we hope that big jump will land him somewhere close to home. We miss you BigBoy and love you dearly — Happy, Happy Birthday!!!

XOXO,
Mom

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Wow! You guys are the best readers anywhere! Thank You for all the mug cozy love! I had several questions about how to make that little mug cozy and you’d be surprised at how easy it was to make. I think it only took me about 3 hours, start to finish.

Mug Cozy

It’s just a little rectangle mini-quilt. Draw a few little flowers out on a piece of fabric, embroider them, and then add 1-inch blocks around the outside. Finish it just like you would any other quilt with a backing, batting and binding. Then sew two buttons to each end. Wrap it around your mug and stretch a small sized ponytail holder between each set of buttons. (You just can see them in the photo above.) Easy Peasy! I would have taken a better picture of the button thingy, but it’s now at work doing its job. It’s either working well, or I’m drinking my tea faster, but the tea isn’t getting cold now until very close to the bottom of the mug.

Among all of your fab comments was one from Isabelle suggesting that I make a patchwork roof cosy. Which is exactly what I’ve been thinking.

Tree Roof

That’s precisely why I have nothing else to report today — you wouldn’t believe how long it takes to make a quilt big enough to cover that south end of the house. And then, being the over-achiever that I am (ha!), I had to make more than one for a little change up now and then.

FriendshipRoof

I’m thinking this could be a new market niche.  Wouldn’t it be cool if you could drive down the street and see a quilt on every roof?  And certainly, today deserves a quilt all its own. Somewhere, way back in my genealogy, I remember seeing someone born in Ireland. That probably makes me about 1/50th Irish, but I’m counting it.

ShamrockRoof

I hope you didn’t get pinched today. If you did, I hope you enjoyed it {wink}{wink}. I’m off to get to work on the Easter Roof Cozy!

XOXO,
Anna