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. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Easy Quilts Winter 2014

I've been told that Fons and Porters' Easy Quilts has started to ship out to subscribers. I haven't seen it in any stores yet, but as my local stores are limited to the grocery store and Wal-mart it might be on stands.

If you open this magazine to the center you'll find a quilt that is very special to me. Mine!!! That's right this girl is a centerfold. Not sure if that's as big a thing outside of magazines with bunnies, but I don't care. I have a quilt pattern in a magazine!

I haven't gotten the quilt back yet so I'm afraid these are the best photos I can share right now. I'm guessing that with all of the markets and expos going on right now my quilt might be out on tour. (If anyone sees her in the wild please send me a pic.)

I'm thinking about hosting a quilt along in January. Would anyone be interested in joining me? If you can't find Fons and Porters' Easy Quilts you can also buy the pattern for North Wind on their website.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Farmer's Wife 32

A rather curious thing has happened with my Farmer's Wife quilt. After giving myself permission not to worry about the end of year deadline I'm suddenly feeling excited about this quilt again. As the deadline loomed closer this quilt was feeling like a chore and was causing a great deal of stress trying to figure out how I was going to get it done. 

I'm really glad that the blocks for this week were fairly easy ones. I've loved all of the quilts that recently popped up using the economy block, but have never tried making this block myself. It was as easy as they say and turned out looking very nice.

#29 Economy

The other block for this week is snowball. I debated making the snowball white, but I liked the combination in the book. Also with pictures of feet of snow not far north of us and a big storm predicted for tomorrow black seemed appropriate for a snowball. 
(I'm always a bit torn with winter. I think that it is my favorite season and I love the snow, but I'm not that fond of the bitter, bone chilling cold that steals my breath every time I step outside.)

#81 Snowball


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

October Supernova Blocks

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I love that my partner for the Supernova swap hasn't cared about strict deadlines. I sent these blocks at the end of October and finally get to share the last of our blocks. We decided to make 12 blocks for our quilts so in October we exchanged two blocks.

This is the first of the blocks I made. I tackled the directional print again and only had one mistake between the two blocks. After ripping it out twice I decided to leave the wonky bit as is. I'm guessing you'll have to look closely to find the wonky section and wouldn't see it if I hadn't just told you it was there.

I did change my fabric choices for the last block so that I didn't have to mess with directional fabrics. I really like how this block turned out.

I love the blues in this block. I find it funny how many times during this swap we've used the same fabrics for that month's blocks. 

And the last block for this quilt. Do you see the repeat fabrics in this one too? I know that since we're working from the same bundle it probably isn't such a coincidence, but it still makes me smile.

Since this was our last exchange for the Supernova Swap we also exchanged some quilty gifts. Cheryl sent me the black bag. I had planned on using it to store all of my quilting pens, but before I had a chance to move those in one of the socks I was knitting jumped in and made himself at home. The bag is the perfect size for holding socks in progress so it will probably stay with the knitting stuff. 

I made the little wallet on the right from some of the fabrics I had leftover from my Weekender Bag. I was in the process of cutting out the pieces for the wallet and was really getting disappointed at the thought of giving away something so cute. Thankfully I had enough fabric that I was able to make two wallets. Now I think of Cheryl and our Supernova Swap each time I get out my wallet. 

*The pattern is "Little Wallet" by Valorie Wells. I found this in a quilt shop several years ago so I don't know if it's still in print.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Vacation Projects

This past week my husband and I went out to Illinois for a few days to visit his parents. His mom is also a quilter and let me use her machine so I got a lot of work done. I brought my camera with the intention of blogging, but as usually happens on vacation the day was half over before I realized it was a normal blogging day. Surprisingly I really didn't take too much extra stuff (just don't ask my husband how much stuff isn't being counted in the "extra.")

I got the jelly roll quilt for the class I'm teaching tomorrow quilted. I still need to add the binding, but since the students were a bit confused by that step in the Intro to Quilting class I taught last month I think I might do the binding in class. Hopefully they'll let me take pictures of their quilts too and I can do a proper quilt teaching blog posting so I'm going to hold off on showing the picture of my quilt.

Most of the week I spent working on the Mystery Quilt I designed for my quilt guild this year. I'm working on the queen sized version of this quilt for my mom and got everything laid out. Since the guild is still on step four the most I can show you of that quilt is this picture. (If you're looking for a cheap way to sort out blocks I highly recommend getting a cheap pack of paper plates. I've used 16 fat different fat quarters for my pinwheels and the plates were a great way to keep the right pieces together. Since I already had the plates I'm also using them to keep the pieces for my blocks in the right spot.)

We have an 8 hour drive when we go visit my in laws, so I also had lots of car knitting time. I'm half way through the alpaca cowl. I was so disgusted when I reached for the second ball of yarn and realized that I forgot it at home. This cowl will definitely need some blocking before it's done, but I'm liking how it's turning out so far.

I also got a fair bit done on one of the socks I'm making for Christmas. Considering that I hadn't finished the ribbing for the cuff when we left I'd say I'm doing really good on this one too.

There still aren't any Farmer's Wife blocks to show. I'm seriously doubting if I'll have these done by the end of the year, but as my husband pointed out I'm the one who set the goal and I can change it whenever I want. There really isn't any reason that I need to kill myself trying to finish these blocks in time for a random goal I made up without knowing what I was getting myself into.