Monday, August 29, 2011

Collecting Some of my Favorite Red, White, and Blue Fabrics

I've been collecting these charm packs in this patriotic color scheme for quite some time.  Now I'm pondering as to what I might make that would show off this different assortment and styles of prints.


Of course a simple square pattern would be quite traditional.  Most of these patterns would  probably be set off by a classic natural muslin.  I could certainly cut 5 inch solids to sew a checkerboard pattern.  But before I do that, I want to consider some other options. 

I do love this classic color combination of fabrics in red, white, and blue.  Seen here in this photo I have enough to do something interesting with all these charm packs.  I'd like to discover a quick and easy pattern so that I could sew these up without to much thinking.  I need something that I can work on while I try to wind down after a day at school.  It would be nice to have something in this color scheme that I could give as a gift or use on the guest bed.  

Maybe I should look into getting one of those twister templates where you sew the squares together in sets of 4 and then set the template on the center seam according to the marked lines and re-cut  a new square that has angled pieces.  I do love that look of movement that seems to be created by the pinwheel like shape.  I wonder if that company makes one that works with 5 inch charm squares?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Dragonfly Magic

first attempt at a photo

I was opening the back door to go outside on the patio and I happened to notice a beautiful full sized dragonfly parked on the white stucco siding of our house.  I didn't want to startle it, so I carefully shut the door and went to get my camera.

I hoped that I could get out the front door and walk around to see it better from the sidewalk.  It worked!

I took a couple of shots and it didn't even seem to mind.  I went in closer and it still wasn't alarmed. 

Picture showing Dragon Fly

This is my best shot and I was delighted to get in so close!

Magical Dragonfly

I've always loved dragonflies, but I love them even more now that I found out how much they like to eat mosquitoes.   This one was a true beauty and it's wings just sparkled with a golden iridescence .

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Summer Sewing and Reading

As an insentive for my young reading student, her mom and I planned to let her make a pillow this year.  In past summers she has made several creative wallhangings with patchwork and then I helped her quilt them.

This time we went by a purchased pattern and Anna may enter it in the fair next year for her 4H group. 

Navigating the Curves

Fringing the Petal Edges

The pillow turned out so cute!  It was super easy to make.  Now that Anna has hers done, I want to make one to coordinate with a cute strawberry pillow I received in a swap last summer.  

We usually put sewing the pillow as the last item on the schedule.  A few times Anna moved the schedule cards around and had us doing the sewing before the reading! 

Displaying the pillow while we relax on the bench in the school garden.

A Very Cute Pillow!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Fairy Garden Experiments

I became interested in making fairy gardens after a visit to my friends house that lives near Minneapolis.  She had the sweetest little fairy garden that was planted up in a wicker window box.  It had a stone path, a diamond dust plant, some Irish moss, and other little attractions.  We admired it while we were relaxing on the deck.  I had to make one when I got home!  And of course, I have more that one and have encouraged other people in my life to make them too!  This gardening hobby can be very contagious.

Starting to assemble First Fairy Garden
      My mom and I got a lot of our materials at the local greenhouse, La Crosse Floral. Two of our fairies were purchased there at very reasonable prices and so were the trellises and the planting urn.    They are really into promoting fairy garden planting and have scheduled some classes on the topic.  They have made a place on their Facebook page to submit photos of individual fairy gardens as well.

     I am in the process of looking for more small items and I noticed Hobby Lobby had some cute picket fences that I may get and then handpaint myself.  They also had some cute wooden doors that could be added to tree  trunks if a person wanted to make one right on the ground in the garden landscape.

My First Fairy Garden
The cute little gingerbread style house is really a tealight candle holder and I picked it up for a very reasonable amount at the Goodwill store.  Isn't it great that someone else's junk can be a treasure to another???

My Mom's Fairy Garden with a Creek and Bridge

Her garden was placed into a coco mulch liner for a hanging basket and it is held in place by a metal basket she found at Goodwill.
The little turtle climbing out from under the bridge is a perfect little touch!  The little maple leaf fairy is resting on a flat rock.  I think that icicle plant in the background is a lovely texture!

My Friend, Debbie's Fairy Garden with a Raccoon

Debbie's garden has a really neat idea for a container.  This was planted up in a upturned glass lamp shade.  It already came with the perfect hole in the bottom for great drainage.  She has a blue fairy, a trellis, and a cute little raccoon in the scene.  Be sure to notice her unique floorcloth.  She made it after she visited a quilt shop in New York.  She met the author of the book, "Floorquilts" and took a class from her.  After her return home she made this unique home decorator mat.

My Second Fairy Garden

This little scene is planted up in a white wicker basket and I have been enjoying it out on the patio.  Notice the mossy covered rocks in the foreground.  I picked those up quite inexpensively at Walmart in the floral dept.  So far they look decent and only one was bitten into by our pesky squirrel.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Abundant Blooms on the Rain Lily

What an amazing plant !
All it takes is a bit of a good hard rain, and my favorite potted lily blooms like crazy.  Zephyrhantes grows along all summer with it's healthy looking leaves and you can count on a flush of blossoms 2 or 3 days after a soaking rain storm. 

Someday I'd like to collect the rainwater in a sealed container and trick it into blooming when the weather  is really dry!

Zephyranthes aka Rain Lily = one of my all time favorite tropical plants!

Read more about this cool plant at the following websites.
See what I had to say about zephyr lilies last year.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Apple Core Fun

Perfect Cutting with the apple core block
Ready to Sew
Lucky me!  My friend has gifted me two of the larger cutting dies for the AccuQuilt that fit on the Mark IV tray.  I am so happy that they work so well to cut through 8 - 10 layers of fabric.  One trick that I learned this week is to lay one sheet of scrap paper over the top fabric layer.  This works somewhat like the template plastic that is used with the AccuQuilt cutter.  Only that thickness of plastic would not go through this smaller Mark IV cutter because the roller is set closer to the tray. 

This simple addition of the paper prevents the top layer from sticking to the roller.  It is such a simple fix for an annoying problem when cut on the older style machine.


Placemats Ready for Bias Binding

This project was a wonderful opportuntity to brush up on some free motion quilting.  Shown in the photo below I was using a design marked with sharpie on some golden threads paper. 

I  find that I can do a more complicated design with this easy to remove paper.  I like the fact that I am not marking on the fabric. 

Design marked on Golden Threads paper.  Follow the line with the feed dogs lowered.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Using Red, White, and Blue Scraps

I've got to get back in the swing of things with the Colorful Scrappy monthly challenge.  I need to sew a couple of my string blocks to catch up on several months of color.  Summer vacation days are dwindling away and I want to get a few finishes within the next 2 weeks. 

I totally missed out on making blocks in pink, purple and yellow, but if I put it on the very BIG
To Do List, I think I can get something done before the end of August.

My mom pieced this pretty table topper and I did the quilting on it last week.  I did meandering in the background and over the center motif I did a combination of diagonal lines and curves from corner to corner.  It got the binding on pretty quickly because I used a machine button hole stitch to stitch it down.

I've been at school running the smaller tumbler cutter through the accucut machine.  I decided my throw for the white wicker sofa must be increased by several rows.  I want it to be nice and cozy and cover my toes when I use it.  I cut quite an assortment of red and white fabrics and a Bliss charm pack was used already.  Now I'll be adding a Strawberry Fields charm pack and I was lucky to find an early released pack of Ruby Charms, so they will be mixed in among those that are in my charm basket.