Wednesday, October 31, 2012

DIY Project: 1 Day Baby Quilt

I made this little baby quilt today, all the way from start to finish in one sitting! It is a gift for one of my Swedish friend's baby, and I really hope they both will like it. I used thicker batting this time, compared to my last quilt, as this is for a younger baby, I was thinking it could be used both as a crib-sized quilt and as a baby play mat. I was a bit worried that the thicker batting might make it turn out heavy, like some thicker quilts can get, but luckily it isn't heavy at all. Instead it has a light fluffiness that is very cuddly. 

I wanted a simple design to showcase this horse pattern print, which reminded me of a Swedish Dala horse, a very traditional, Swedish symbol. The horses were pretty large, so I kept the blocks large as well, in order to display the pattern in full. I added in two coordinating solids, and two coordinating prints.

Light aqua backing fabric, and simple, square quilting pattern.

I actually wish I could have gotten my hands on more of the "Dala horse" print, 'Wooden Horses' from Michael Miller, because I really like it, and I would have preferred to use it for the backing as well. Instead I went with the same minty aqua solid cotton as I mixed into the quilt top. In the early evening light of the time when I took these photos, the color look almost white.

Quilt, pre laundry. Here you can also see that the backing fabric is light aqua, not white, as it looks like in the photo below. 

I used a simple grid pattern for the quilting. Initially I had wanted to go with something more similar to my last quilting pattern, but as neither of the fabric in this quilt had a print with a suitable patterns, so I decided not to. The fluffier batting really goes well with this simple, square quilt pattern, as each square is slightly puffed up.

Quilt, post laundry. You can see the slight puffiness of each square, compare to above.

For the binding, I used a homemade coral dot binding, the same one I used on the Elephant blanket. Between the large blocks and the simple grid quilting, this entire project, from cutting to binding, took around 4 hours. It is crib sized.


Quilt top:
Jay-Cyn Designs for Birch Fabrics, Mod Basics, Abacus Coral
Jay-Cyn Designs for Birth Fabrics, Mod Basics, Solid Coral
Michael Miller, Wooded Horses, Charcoal
Robert Kaufman Kona Cotton, Coral
Dots on white, I don't know the name, or the make

Robert Kaufman Kona Cotton, Light Aqua

Cay-Cyn Designs for Birch Fabrics, Mod Basics, Dottie Cream Coral

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

DIY Project: Little Monsters Halloween Manicure

From my Instagram.

I made this Halloween themed Little Monsters manicure yesterday, and thought I'd share it here as well, so that friends who do not have Instagram can see it too. First I pained each finger nail a different color (2 coats), and then went to town with white and black polish to make the faces, all free-hand. I started with the white, making the eye balls and teeth using a thin brush, and then went over with the black afterwards. I topped it off with my favorite top coat from Deborah Lippman to make it durable. Super easy, and so cute!

Nail Polishes used:
(from left to right)
Deborah Lippmann 'Addicted To Speed' Top Coat
Deborah Lippmann 'Girls Just Want To Have Fun'
L'OREAL 'Club Prive'
Maybelline 'Iced Queen'
L'OREAL 'Now You See Me'
Essie 'Peach Daiquiri'
Maybelline 'Porcelain Party'
Sephora by OPI 'What's A Tire Jack'

Sunday, October 28, 2012

DIY Project: Pin Cushion Jars Tutorial

I love these Pin Cushion Jars! They look cute, are easy to make, useful when you're sewing, and last but not least, you can keep pins safely tucked away inside while you're not using them. This is a quick and easy little project to put together, that makes a great gift for anyone who likes sewing. I made these for the fabulous ladies in my book club (sorry ladies for the spoiled surprise).

DIY Project: Pin Cushion Jars Tutorial
Each jar takes but minutes to complete, and lends itself well to making a bunch at a time. It is a perfect scrap buster.

What you'll Need:
canning jars, any size
fabric scraps - I used some charm pack leftovers from another project
hot glue

What to do:
1. Unscrew your lid, and take it apart.

2. Lay the flat piece on a fabric scrap, and cut around it, with 1-2 inches extra fabric around all sides (since I used fabric from a charms pack, I didn't bother making mine perfect circles and instead kept them square, but it didn't make a difference). Then cut your small circle. Using your lid as a guide, cut your circle about 1/2 inch smaller than the lid.
3. Place your lid face down on your larger fabric piece, grab some batting and stuff under the lid, folding the extra fabric over the lid edges.

4. Add a line of glue to the lid, under the folded flap of fabric, and attach the fabric as smoothly as you can. Work your way around the lid, gluing and smoothing down the fabric as you go. If needed, add some more batting before you clue the last bit of the circle.

5. Trim off any excess fabric.
6. Glue your small circle on top of the fabric edges, pressing down firmly, to prevent as much bulk as possible. Let dry.

7. Place lid ring on top of the fabric side, and let the stuffed pouff poke out of the hole, screw the lid onto your jar and you're done!

Stuffed with some goodies, like candy, a bundle of fat quarters, or small sewing supplies, they make a nice little gift for crafty friends.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

DIY Project: Bonnie's Quilt

I started this quilt on Wednesday, as soon as I finished this Elephant Blanket, and I've basically been sewing furiously ever since. I cut and pieced the quilt top that day, then did all the quilting and the binding yesterday. While I wouldn't recommend making 2 quilts in 4 days, given the resulting hunched-over-your-sewing-machine-for-hours-on-end crippling back and shoulder pain, I'm really pleased with this project. Definitely worth the pain.

The design of this quilt was entirely inspired by the prints used. I went with this large simple blocks to showcase the different coordinating patterns in the line, and quilted each block according to its pattern. The large block size made the quilt-top piecing come together quickly, which was good, since the quilting pattern added  a TON of additional work and time to the quilting process.

Quilt top.

At a distance you can't really see the quilting patters, but up close it is more noticeable.

Quilt top close up.

The relatively plain backing is where the different quilting patters really stand out.

Quilt back and quilting pattern, close up.

I'm happy with the design. In fact, this quilting pattern is my favorite of all the ones I've made so far (and this is my ninth quilt!). I used really light, soft, organic bamboo batting, and high thread count cotton fabric throughout, and as a result, this quilt is extremely soft and cuddly! I really, really, really LOVE how this quilt turned out. 

Quilt top and back.

Since I made this quilt for my friend's baby girl, Bonnie, I decided to try some more appliqué by adding her name to the otherwise solid, white backing, using leftover prints from the quilt top.

 Appliqué and quilt pattern, full. 

I did a simple zig zag around the letters. A few of them turned out a bit crooked, but I kind of like the whimsy it brings.

 Quilting pattern and appliqué name.

For the binding, I did an all-white double binding, using first the overhanging backing fabric, and then I added a homemade white binding on top of that. Usually I do this when I have two contrasting colors, so that you can see a thin line of the backing fabric peek out under the contrasting [top] binding, like this, but this time I did it mainly for durability. The bottom layer of binding also makes the top binding a lot easier to apply. Doing it this way means I do not need to pin or secure the binding in any way before I attach it. I can just hold it in place while sewing. Although it's white-on-white, you can see the bottom binding peeking out under the top one.

Label, double binding, and accurate representation of colors.

Some of these photos were taken in soft evening light right after I finished the quit, and others I took today in sharper mid-morning light, which changes the way the colors look from photo to photo, but this one (above) is an accurate representation of the color scheme.

I really, really hope Bonnie will like her little quilt!

Fabric used:

Simpatico Organic fabric collection by Michelle Engel Bencsko for Cloud9 Fabrics
Robert Kaufmann Organic White Cotton

I couldn't help to add this hilarious out take where Hubby's feet got caught in frame.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

DIY Project: Elephant Panel Quilt

I love making these quilted blankets, because they are so quick and easy to make, and you still get that warm, crinkly quilt-feeling when you pull it out of the dryer, without spending weeks piecing the quilt top. They make for great gifts as well. I started this little elephant blanket yesterday, and finished it today, spending a few hours each day on it. 

I love, love, LOVE this gorgeous print! I love the whimsical elephants with their coral and white umbrellas, and the background is a beautiful textured gray! It came in a 2 yard panel, and I kept it intact for this quick little quilted blanket. 

I backed it with a solid light aqua, and to tie in the print, I added a coral and white umbrella appliqué. This was the first time I've done an appliqué, and I found it SO much harder than I had anticipated! I used a photo of the elephant print on my phone as my guide while I free-handed the umbrella design (and that was the easy part). I probably should have scanned it in and enlarged it properly, and it would have been a prefect magnified copy. It's similar enough though, I think. 

Quilt back, with appliqué

 I didn't pin the appliqué before I attached it, nor did I use a stabilizer. I just placed it on the backing fabric, ironed both layers, and then stitched quickly around the edge using a wide zigzag stitch. I followed that up with a tight zig zag all around the edges, and finally I removed the original wide stitch that held the design in place for the second step.

Appliqué close up, turned up side down

For the quilting, I had planned to do a simple diagonal line, but the curve snuck in right from the beginning, and I ended up with this rounded design, which I kind of love.

Quilting lines

I made the binding myself, using this coral-dot-on-white fabric that perfectly matches the coral shade on the elephant print. I had wanted to do a double binding, like this one, using the aqua backing fabric below the dotted binding, but I only had 2 yards of the backing fabric, and after the quilting was done, there wasn't enough aqua overhang on the backside to fold over the raw edge. Bummer, because I think it would have looked fantastic having the aqua peek out underneath the coral dots! Maybe next time...

Label and binding

 All things considered, I'm pretty pretty happy with this soft little quilt-blanket. I kind of wish it was bigger...


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Glass blowing.

I tried glass blowing of the first time last week, and this week I found a heavy box on my stoop covered in "FRAGILE" stickers. Inside were the glass pieces I made, among them this paper weight. 

It was impossible to see what the end result was going to look like while I was making it, as the glass was glowing hot, so I was really curious to see what my swirly, glowing ball had turned into.  

I was surprised by how heavy it was; I didn't realize it was this big when I made it, since it sat attached to the blowing rod when I handled it. At I turned it over in my hand, I initially thought it looked like a orb of ocean waves. Then hubby, who was looking at it from the other direction, said "There's a fish!" Looking at the other side, I saw it too.

Can you see the fish? 

It was a total accident, of course, but still, I love my paper weight!