Diamond Star Baby Quilt

This is a quilt for a special person: first nephew I’ll ever meet! He comes from very bright and sweet people. When I saw Lizzy House‘s fabric line Natural History I fell in love with the playfulness of color and design. She seems pretty awesome. Check her out on Creativebug too (I am a huge fan of Creativebug, but more on that another time). I consulted School of Sewing‘s instructions for a baby-sized quilt, but then added in my own arrangement. IMG_5648.jpgIMG_5642.jpg

Carolyn Friedlander‘s new line Caraki tones down the color and adds to a structured effect. Bones are the best. We all need bones and they are beautiful to look at. Caraki is beautiful and strong. Perfect!

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I wasted no time using my favorite FM curved shape while quilting. I love this quilt, and I’m excited to meet the little guy it is for.

What have you been sewing up lately? Happy end of March to everyone!

Granola Recipe

Having snacks on hand that are quick to make, eat, and are portable are always on my lookout recipe list. We are spending more time outside thanks to Spring arriving promptly. I looked up a recipe for granola and at the store a few weeks ago I decided to pick up supplies for granola.

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Granola Recipe

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mix in a bowl:

  • 3 cups of rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds
  • 2 tablespoons of pumpkin seeds (add more or less as desired)
  • 2 tablespoons of chia seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine together (this part may need heating up on the stove-top) :

  • 3 tablespoons of agave syrup
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pour the wet ingredients in to the dry and mix together until all pieces are thoroughly coated.

Spread the mix on a flat baking tray.

Place in over and bake for 15 minutes. Stir. Bake for about 15 more minutes, or until golden.

Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Slightly stir the cooling granola. This will help the granola cool in a more chunky formation.

Enjoy alone or with yogurt after the granola is completely cooled.

 

Do you have any fun snack recipes being made lately? Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

Easy Kid’s Apron

The School of Sewing is a book I return to again and again since being recommended it by my seamstress aunt. A lot of people are worried about using a sewing machine, and I was no exception. The School of Sewing helped demystify my machine and got me comfortable using a variety of sewing schools. It’s a great book for those looking for a book to help them with beginning sewing. The apron, project three, is a great one and well fitting.

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Pattern Source: The School of Sewing    

 

This is the child’s size and is a gift for a friend. The dinosaur fabric is Lizzy House’s Natural History for Andover fabrics. Lizzy House is one of my favorite fabric designers. She is playful and vibrant and sweet. These are great prints to work with.

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Fabric: Natural History

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I picked solids for the rest of the apron because it seemed to balance out the print. This apron is for a boy, and I wanted it to have a more stark appearance. The apron is already on its way in the mail to the recipient and I couldn’t be happier. Making a gift for another has always been such a pleasant experience for me.

How have you been sharpening your sewing skills? Thanks for stopping by!

 

Berry Smoothie Recipe

Winter does not deter us from smoothies. Saving fruit in the freezer is helpful for us, because we have a short berry season, but we don’t always have a local stock of fruit, and often buy from the store. Are smoothies drinkable ice cream? Possibly!  IMG_5374.jpg

Berry Smoothie Recipe

  • 1 cup berries (I love raspberries and blueberries)
  • 2 bananas
  • splash of water, coconut water, almond milk, apple juice, or anything else you might like. More watery liquid will make the smoothie more liquid.
  • Yogurt
  • 1 TBS of chia seed (for fiber and great texture)

We use this as a base recipe and add from there. Have fun and please share any smoothies you like to make!

Tiny Cards & Applique Arcs

Valentine’s Day is fun. This is a sweet time of year, and I love to send out cards. For previous Valentine’s Days I’ve sent out postcards, embroidered hearts, glitter cards (and those turned in to glitter bombs after being processed through the mail!), and now these old school grade school valentines I found about a year and a half ago when helping a relative move.

These sweet animal cards were perfect. Time has been a bit crunched the past two weeks, but I still wanted to send out cards.

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The other evening I sat down with some Winsor & Newton Designer Gouache in Gold and set to drawing. It’s been about eight months since I used a calligraphy pen and nib, so there were some rusty moments and valentines were limited, but I was able to ease up on the amount of pressure my fingers wanted to apply to the pen and the cards turned out cute. The sun came out just as I was taking pictures, and the gold really sparkles.

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How and why colors coming together are constantly on my mind. I want to tell a story with each piece I make, and it should not be a story that leaves one wondering why it was created. The story should be steady enough to enter and fresh enough to the eye each time that one keeps returning; I’m thinking a lot about it! After trying many other combinations, these two were my final contenders.

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Chain-piecing was one of my favorite skills I learned in beginner quilting. The product makes me want to hang garlands all around the house.

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A new sewing machine is close to being a part of my life, but I still love my little Janome. It is doing a great job sewing up those seams!

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I decided to nestle the clouds between the solid purple and blue Arcs to give this more of a sunrise feeling. Catching the sunrise everyday is one of the most amazing times of the day, and the sun pushes the pinks, purples, and dark reds against the blue sky. With this much print, I felt it was important to create a balance within the already chosen colors, and then find the most cohesive union between these rows. I’ve been contemplating a border the entire week and have yet to settle on any one idea.

Any tips on how you decide on borders?

Happy Valentine’s Day! What are you doing to mark the day?

Applique Today

This is my first time using one of Lori Smith’s applique patterns. The directions are simple and well numbered. I was introduced to her work through the applique class I’m taking at the LQS. It is a great pattern to learn many of the skills needed in applique…as I’m finding out! IMG_5265.jpg

The pattern encourages scrap usage and to date I haven’t used any new fabric. We used bias bars to make the stems and these helped make the stems bendy, easier to apply on. Glue was recommended to keep the stems in place, but since I am on the go and recently learned the joys of basting, I decided to baste the stems on. I’m saving most of my pennies, and glue feels like something I could run to pick up if I was screaming for it, but am glad not to buy right now!

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To make circles close to perfect (mine aren’t perfect!) we utilized Karen Kay Buckley’s Perfect Circles. The O-ring to hold all the circles is included, and I love that! Not only are my circles better than anticipated, but each one looks like a sweet little flower while awaiting application.

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I worked on Carolyn Friedlander’s Arcs all week. What I appreciate about this pattern is how dynamic the arcs are despite being a simple shape. I learned a lot about tucking under and securing corners.

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This is all scrap fabric I had from other projects. The raspberry fabric in the middle row almost had me cutting out new arcs, but I decided to roll with it. This project still has a lot more to be added, and the colors can be balanced. Thread color is going to be crucial.

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Other exciting things have been going on here too. I’ve been drawing a lot and am thinking about ordering some supplies to make printed fabric by hand. Any tips? Has any one worked on making fabric?

What are you working on?

Greeting Card Tutorial: Embroidery!

A thank you to all that have stopped by & looked, liked, commented, or a combination of all three. Deciding to start a blog wasn’t easy for me due to introversion, but that was a feeling I pushed aside to forge ahead.

The way I typically thank those in my life is through a greeting card. With the internet being my platform here, I thought it best to provide a greeting card tutorial. The embroidery greeting card first came in to my life in the form of tiny hearts I cut out. I embroidered my friends’ initials or names in the hearts. Many of the tiny hearts were cut  without a thought about templates and I hadn’t learned back-stitch yet (my favorite right now)! This is the sophisticated version, using calligraphy style script, of those sweet little hearts. The embroidery greeting cards don’t take much time, but make a big impact on the recipients!

Materials:

  • Card-stock or any type of paper you would like to use for a card. Firm is better here.
  • Embroidery Needle
  • Embroidery Thread
  • General Purpose Thread
  • Pencil & Eraser
  • Scissors

1.  Measure the paper to to size of card you would like. Here I cut the paper down to 6 1/2″ x 11″.

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2.  Fold the paper in half hamburger style. I used my fingers to set the crease.

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3.  Free hand draw what you might like on the card. Typically I write “Happy Birthday, _____!”, or if for a couple I draw both their names with a heart in-between. Don’t worry about using fancy script, because everything looks beautiful once embroidered.

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4.  Poke holes in the card every couple of millimeters or centimeters. The closer the holes are the more likely of a collapse of the card-stock between the spaces. The further apart the holes the larger the stitches will be and this will make the card faster to complete. A variety of stitch lengths are used in the making of this tutorial for demonstration.

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5. Pick your colors and embroider! I like to use french knots for periods. The thread may feel bulky and stiff, but this is because paper is a more firm fiber than cloth overall!

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6. I prefer to hide the knots inside the card, but if you are feeling bold you may leave them on the outside of the card.

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7. The corners have to be secured since the card will not close flat on its own. I used general purpose thread to anchor each corner with an X, but you could as easily use embroidery thread. I tied the knots to the back of the card.

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8. Admire & fill out your card to send away. Or you might use the card as a wall hanging for your inspiration board.

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Thank you for reading & I hope everyone has a lovely week. Please feel free to share any made embroidery cards!

Applique Away

After a week of figuring out some technology–hello, YouTube!–the computer is free for roaming. The snow has been beautiful. Everything is quiet and the cars move slowly along. The sunrise colors are delicate here. IMG_5120.jpg

Post Card Party Swap is a fantastic way to share small quilted pieces with other knitters and totally hits all my favorite categories: mail, pen-pals, quilting, and applique. The LQS offers classes with postcard ideas and this was a class I joined that used wool. It was my first time doing wool applique, and I love how textured and sturdy wool is to work with. When the snow began to fall, I decided to hand quilt circles as the background, enjoying it so much I worked on it until I finished.  Hand-stitching is calming, centering, and adds a beautiful finish to this little postcard!

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Practice makes for more experience and so out came the scrap bag and the rotary cutter, and I cut out six more hearts to applique. The squares are sevens inches by seven inches and the heart is a basic template. Since I’ll always have scraps about this size I plan on collecting at least one heart from each piece of fabric from here on out. When there are enough of appliqued I will make a quilt. Right now eleven appliqued hearts exist. IMG_5161.jpgIMG_5170.jpgIMG_5173.jpg

Savor Each Stitch arrived and it is a wonderfully written book with clear explanations. The first project is cut and ready to be basted. Basting, I’ve just learned after pinning ten hearts, is much easier to work with when doing needle-turn applique. What I particularly liked about basting is how smoothly the round edges turned under. It was a revelation to me, because the pinning seemed to cause distortion overall, but the basting kept all in place! Looking forward to moving ahead with this project. IMG_5154.jpg

Everyone is posting such lovely work! Thanks for stopping by and checking out the blog.

 

 

Appliqué Thursday

I’m in Appliqué class, it’s my first time trying it & I’m smitten! Appliqué, as I’ve just learned, has a great blend of preparation & ease of carrying. There’re lots of ideas coming to my mind (lion, fish, stars, mermaids), because I can appliqué anything I can draw! Doodling is great for releasing my mind & allowing new ideas to form without interruption, so now the doodles have a new home.

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At first I found the stitching & using my needle a little awkward. After the second heart, I was totally engrossed in the process of tucking in the fabric & not pulling too tight. What I enjoy about hand stitching is that it will never be perfect (for me), but there is a consistent rhythm that develops & I love that feeling.

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I admire many people working with appliqué & ordered Savor Each Stitch by Carolyn Friedlander (her work inspired me to start sewing regularly again).

Whose work do you like? What are you appliquéing on this snowy day? IMG_4986

 

What I Sew On

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Meet one of the most exciting pieces of technology in this house, my sewing machine, the Janome 2212. Purchased off of Amazon when I wasn’t sure if sewing would be to my liking or not, this machine turned out to be great for what it is! Totally sturdy & great for a beginner. It doesn’t always handle the larger projects I’ve worked on perfectly, but I’ve been satisfied & don’t feel held back. The 1/4″ seam foot did not fit, & that was annoying, but I used tape to mark the throat plate. This summer, in an excitement, I bought a vintage Viking off of eBay, it didn’t work & returned it. After that I decided to work with the Janome 2212 & feel things out. Here I am loving every minute & a more advanced model is in my future! Honestly, having this model allowed me to understand what my expectations & uses of a sewing machine may be in the future.

Sewing Machines I Have My Eye On:

Janome’s 1600P-QC: This machine seems sturdy & the reviews I’ve read are great. I love Janome’s machines already, having had a great experience with my current machine. Straight-stitch only is what I’d like, and I’ll use a serger. Simple is best for my capabilities, in terms of technology, & this machine allows for great free-motion quilting.

Juki’s TL-2010Q: My seamstress auntie recently purchased this machine from her local machine shop ( she got a great deal!) & she loves it. Her work is always beautiful, but her free-motion quilting on a set of potholders blew me away! Each stitch looked fantastic. This machine is also straight-stitch only with great reviews.

The local sewing machine shop here carries Janome & I’m not sure I want to buy another one off of the internet. What has your experience been buying sewing machines off the internet? Do you use either of these machines? Any likes or dislikes (within reason!)?