Sunday, December 14, 2014

Do you want to build a snowman?

Last weekend I went to see Frozen with my sister. Our movie theater does Merchant Movies and since one of the merchants with free tickets is the quilt shop (right across the street from the theater) of course we had to go there to get tickets. I was planning on getting a fat quarter of Christmas fabric for my guild's party, and since they don't like to take credit cards with less than a ten dollar purchase it only made sense to buy more than just a fat quarter. As I was wondering around I saw the store sample of a wall hanging using the panel from Deb Strain's "Be Jolly." I couldn't find the kit, but did find the pannel and fabric that I liked. I'm afraid there really isn't a pattern for this one. I used 1/4 yard of the blue cut into 3.5" strips, and 1/2 yard of the red cut into 2.5" strips with enough left over for the binding. The sample in the shop had red as the wide strip closest to the snowman and then dark blue for the 2.5" strips and binding. I tried that, but it didn't look quite right so I flip flopped them. I'm really excited to see red binding framing the blue snowflakes on the top and bottom. 

 I had hoped to finish this today, but Rite (my sewing machine) is misbehaving. I bought a spool of thread from Connecting Threads a few months ago. I've been using it for piecing with great success and decided to try using it for quilting. I don't know if it's the machine or thread but I've been struggling with it breaking a lot. I've only got a tiny little section left in the corner so hopefully if I let Rita rest tonight she'll be up for finishing this tomorrow. I know it sounds crazy but this has happened to me several times that I have a problem with her and when I come back the next day I set everything up the same way and she works perfectly. (Before someone asks I did rethread the top and bobbin, dusted, oiled, and checked tension and pressure.) Despite having lots of threads to bury the stippling is looking great on the front and even on the back it's smooth. I can't wait to finish this one and get it up on the wall.

I've also been busy this weekend trying my hand at painting. I tend to think of myself as creative, but not artistic. For our anniversary this year my husband bought me a canvas print of Imposter. We decided to buy some blank canvases and make some paintings to go with the penguins and bunny-dressed-as-penguin. After searching pinterest for ideas I settled on Snowman Gazes at Night Sky and Moon and Winter Wonderland for inspiration. (I'm not sure where the line between inspiration and shameless copying lies, but I will say that Terri has an amazing tutorial for creating a similar painting if you follow the Winter Wonderland link.)

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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Penguin Winner

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Penguins on Parade pattern give away. I had so much fun reading everyone's penguin names. There were 63 entries for this giveaway and the winner is number 10 Wild Irish who would name a penguin Flippers.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Christmas Socks

These socks are coming along nicely if a bit slowly. I finished the leg last night so there's just the foot part left. I think next year might be dedicated to smaller projects and hopefully I can spread some gift making out throughout the year. (I say this as I still have the back for Blueberry waiting to be reknit and I have yarn for a sweater for the huzby waiting in the closet.) At least I'm almost done with these and the cowl and then I'll be through the knitting portion of my Christmas list.

*Pattern is by Lion Brand Yarn and yarn is Knit Picks Felici (They brought the yarn back last month and only have a small amount of one color left. Hopefully this means it will come back permanently soon.)

Monday, December 8, 2014

Penguin Giveaway!

If you're new here WELCOME!!! To give you a bit about myself I live in Northwest Iowa with my amazing husband. I love to knit and quilt and am an aspiring quilt designer. Recently I had one of my patterns published in Fons and Porters' Easy Quilts Winter 2014.

I know that there are a lot of postings to read right now with the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day so I've put instructions for entering the giveaway in bold at the bottom of this post. Please feel free to enter the giveaway and come back next week to learn more about me.

I don't think it's a secret anymore that I love penguins. I was so excited this morning when someone shared on facebook that there was a penguin for sale on ebay. While my first thought should have been asking why someone would sell a live penguin online or maybe that penguins are wild social creatures that need to live in a flock not as a pet. My first thought was CUTE!!!!! When I told my husband I expected him to remind me that our lease doesn't allow pets or maybe that a penguin is an impractical pet, but instead it was to remind me that we don't have room. Imagine our disappointment when it turned out that the penguin for sale is a walking foot for the feather weight. I say disappointment because the foot sold for $700 so I don't foresee this penguin ever coming to live with me. The good news is that if you are also a lover of penguins the little guys on this quilt can come to live with you!

When I was first learning to quilt I took a workshop on the drunkard's path block. Being new to quilting I didn't know that curved seams were supposed to be hard. Ignorance and a wonderful teacher proved to be bliss and I learned that the drunkard's path block is really pretty easy. I wasn't happy with any of the patterns I could find so I created my own. With encouragement from my guild I wrote the pattern for this charming quilt and included the tips that I learned that make curved seams so easy. The quilt finishes 60"x60" and the pattern includes instructions for the angled corners or a square quilt depending on what you want to make. 

Today's give away is for a digital copy of Penguins on Parade and is open to everyone. 

Please leave a comment telling me what name you would give a penguin. Although I don't have any live penguins I do have a stuffed penguin named Matilda. If you want a second chance to win please follow my blog and leave me a comment letting me know how you follow. I'll be announcing the winner next Saturday December 13. 

If that's not enough I've decided to offer my Penguins on Parade pattern half price this week only! (If you buy the pattern and win the giveaway you can choose to give the pattern to a friend or choose one of my other patterns. I have Chrysanthemum in my Craftsy shop and have two more that are almost ready for publication.)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Pinterest Thanksgiving

I know usually a post titled "Pinterest Thanksgiving" will be full of delicious recipes to try. Since I don't tend to use pinterest like people usually do it shouldn't surprise you that my pinterest Thanksgiving post will be different. Only about half of the posts on my board are food. The other half are ways to decorate the table. 

You can find the links to my inspirations and what I'll be eating tomorrow on my Thanksgiving Pinterest Board.

I found a great idea for filling a rectangle vase that I already owned with candy corn and candles. A perfect cheap centerpiece.

In the past I've always struggled with how to make a meal special at home. When I visit my parents the special meals are served on my great grandma's china. These dishes will be coming to live with me one day, but I really hope that day is far in the future since it will mean my mom no longer needs them. I found a couple of blue china plates in an antique store a few years ago, but they're better suited to an afternoon luncheon than a feast where the food should be the star. I decided to try the "sharpie mug" method and picked up a couple of plates at Wal-mart for 88 cents each. 

I read that there seems to be a high margin of error on these plates but most people have success when they let the sharpie dry for a day or so before baking. I baked my plates for 30 minutes somewhere around 400 degrees (my oven is really old and will do it's best to get to the requested temperature, but is considered successful if it gets within 25 degrees either way.) I then let the plates cool in the oven. I haven't washed them yet, but the marker does look a bit faded from when they went in. I like this look and see it as a sign that the sharpie has permeated the glaze. I think these plates will be dish washer safe, but since we don't have one I'll be hand washing them.

The last thing I made was a table runner. My husband and I decided late last week that we were going to do a Thanksgiving meal together on Thursday for the two of us. (Crazy work schedules means we won't be heading to my family until Friday morning.) I've been thinking of a quilted winter table runner and hadn't bothered to think of Thanksgiving. I don't have a lot of Autumn colors in my stash and wanted something that could easily be done in an hour. I got half a yard of burlap from the store, cut it into a square to fit my table, and used a Sharpie to write one of my favorite Thanksgiving hymns onto it. I don't have fancy handwriting so I found a font on my computer that I liked and printed off my hymn. Since burlap is full of holes I just laid the fabric over my paper and traced the letters.

Monday, November 24, 2014

New Filing Cabinet

This week I'm going to take a small detour from my usual topics of fabric and yarn. I've been spending lots of time on Pintrest and have been trying out some of the projects I've found. When possible I'll give you links to tutorials. Most of the time I look at dozens of similar projects for what I want to do and then figure out a way to make the project my own.

I've needed a filing cabinet for a long time, but have been struggling to figure out where to put it. Recently I decided to replace my side table with a filing cabinet. My sister works at the local college which had a garage sale last week. She was so sweet to run across campus in the freezing cold to buy me a filing cabinet for two dollars! My dear husband then ran into town and brought it home for me.  

Aside from being rather drab it's in great shape. My original plan had been to spray paint it a nice aqua color and use contact paper to give the drawers an extra pop. However the day I was planning to paint we got a blizzard and I don't see our temperatures getting back into the 50s (which the can says I need for the paint to work) until spring. I really didn't want to have a big green filing cabinet in my living room for six months so I went with Plan B.

Contact paper! Amazon has hundreds of choices of contact paper. I found this great walnut contact paper for $6.02 a roll. After following my husband's advice I measured the cabinet and figured out that I needed 2 rolls for my filing cabinet. (Thanks husby for averting crafting disaster.) I also found this cute polka dot for $5.98 for the fronts. 

Two hours later and my filing cabinet looks like a piece of furniture worthy of being in our living room. I'm afraid I don't have any pictures of applying the contact paper. I made sure to clean the cabinet before hand, took my time and peeled the paper off slowly as I applied it. I saw recommendations to use a squeegee, but since I didn't have one I used a fake credit card I'd received in the mail. I also used a pin to pop any air bubbles that I wasn't able to smoosh out with my "squeegee".

 My husband and I are talking about making a real wood top for it with some scrap lumber. I'm also thinking about painting the drawers and reapplying the contact paper this spring with some nicer drawer pulls. The green and tan paint from before show through, but for now I'm really happy with how it turned out.

In summary:
Filing cabinet:                                           $2.00
Walnut Wood Grain Contact Paper                    $12.04        
Polka Dot Contact Paper                           $5.98
Total Cost:                                                   $20.02

Come back Wednesday to see how Pintrest inspired my Thanksgiving table! 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

All but the toe

I'm thinking next year I might give the year of socks another try. I've really been having fun with this pair of socks and need to start working my way through my stash of sock yarn and pattern books. All I have left on this sock is the toe (and its mate but let's not look too far into the future.) Today I'm celebrating the completion of the foot.