Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Pins and Needles - an easy needle case to make

I have a thing for pincushions, needle cases, scissor fobs, any gadget-y type of thingamajig. I am always making something new to hold those objects. I have pincushions in every room, sometimes more than one to a room and needlecases in every tote or bag.
The other day I was looking through some of my scraps of strings and thought, this is a good size for a needle case. Okay, I really didn’t need another one, but, my sister did! Sisters are handy dandy folk to have around, especially when they enjoy stitching as much as I do. It isn’t her birthday or Christmas and it’s past Valentine’s Day, however I really don’t need an excuse or reason to make something special for my baby sister, Cat.

Here is a quick tutorial on how I made it.

First, find some scrap strings about let’s say approx. 9” in length and 4” in diameter. You will also need the same dimensions of batting or felt for the innards and for the lining. Also a bit of red cut in the shape of a heart.

Center the heart on the string foundation.

You will want to embroider this- by hand or machine, whichever you are comfy with.

Once you have it sewn securely, you will want to turn it over and remove some of the stitches that are within the circumference of the heart. You will then carefully stuff this with polyester fiberfill.

After stuffing, slip stitch the opening closed and begin sewing your sandwich together.

You can use a decorative stitch or straight stitch. You really just want to make sure it is bound together. Take care at where the heart was stuffed, ending your stitching just before you reach there and picking up again right after the stuffed heart.

You are now ready for the binding

For a super easy instructional on binding I don’t think you could find a better tut than from the Missouri Star Quilt Company (ps) if you are really wanting to learn some quick and easy quilt projects, take a peek at their many fun videos. Quack!

Once you have the binding on, you’re almost done!

Okay, so I got a little ahead of myself and forgot to take some extra pictures. I think you can figure out how I got to here.

Cut out another heart shape and place it on the lining right behind the front stuffed heart. This will be a nice place to hold your sewing needle.

In the center, I attached a lobster claw clasp to clip my nippers to.

On the opposite end of the inside heart, I attached a few plastic circles generally used for café curtains. Through these you can pull some floss and voila! You have a neat and tidy little needle case to carry with you anywhere!

Ta Da!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Why I like to be in Block Swaps

I am in a few block swaps for quilting. They are like potato chips and popcorn. Can't do just one. They are compelling, intriguing, obsessive and a wonderful way to build your UFO stash and also meet some new personalities.

The other day I received these loverly blocks from cyber sis Mary. She is quite a talented lady and is even more prolific! I am honored to have been her swap partner this past month!

I began participating in the Block Lotto last month and while I haven't hit their lottery as a winner of blocks, I have more than enjoyed making the blocks for others to enjoy.
Here are January's Bright Stacks that were sent off to a winner:

And here are February's String Hearts waiting to be sent off:

This month is also the first month of a new blog block swap at Barn Door Swap I made two blocks to send off to Merry Olde England to my partner.

I am a member of MSQC and will soon be getting some wonderful Dresdens in the mail. I made 26 assorted to share:

Each one of these swaps and many others out there in blogland love to have new members. You don't have to be professional or even be very experienced. It is all about the sharing, growing, learning. You should be punctual and also be able to communicate with your swap partner(s). If you have been thinking of trying to learn to quilt or at least make a few blocks to see if you like it, look around the blogging neighborhood to find your fit.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Blackberry Winter

Here it is the middle of February and we are officially in the midst of spring fever!
The past few days have been gloriously warm, the temps inching each day upwards until today I am not sure what the legal actual temperature is but it is deliciously teasing. It also puts me in mind of what my granny would call Blackberry Winter.

What is Blackberry Winter you ask? That is a time in the spring generally speaking, when fruits and other perennials get fooled into blooming too early. And then, whammie! A sudden late frost will kill their blooms and consequently their harvest.

While there are officially no blackberries blooming right now, there are some things starting to bud out a tad bit too early for my liking. Our worst weather generally comes in March and even late April has seen us with some severe frost/snow. So when I see my tender babies anxious to make an appearance, I want to shelter them from the cold cruel world a while longer. Note: I do think of my plants as my little children, a sad sign that I am getting old, not quite senile, just sentimental . . . don't jeer or jest at me. I am quite sentimental over my precious pretties.
One of my many azaleas getting a wee too enthusiastic

pussy willow starting to set her paws ~ please wait!

and oh how I love my tulip tree - a sweet magnolia that touches my heart with her beauty

I have given them a severe talking to. I have warned them that just because I am in short sleeves today does not give them license to do the same. I am older by far and know when to put a sweater on. Common sense says don't start showing yourself until the grosbeaks are back in numbers or even the robins hop on the ground by your feet.

I don't know how long this weather will tease us, lulling us all into the complacency of doing foolish things, like spring cleaning or even, GASP! raking heaps of leaves away from tender perennials, but I for one will continue to warn others of Blackberry Winter.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Okay, so the groundhog didn't see his shadow

Last week, that wily Phil of Puxatawny fame cuddled and cooed into some man wearing a top hat's ear that he didn't see his shadow. He wasn't the only one. I don't think anyone in the continental USA was able to see their shadow. The snow blinded their vision I am certain. Let's don't give up hope. Spring is on the way. Spring is on the way. Spring is on the way.
To help my mind during the record breaking temps, I trudged outside and cut some flowering quince. I love my quince bushes. I have three of them and over the years they have rewarded me with lovely rosey color a few times a year. This year I am hoping to coax them into an early bloom. I also noticed that my intrepid pussy willow seems to be setting her little kitty paws. Just couldn't reach any branches or brachs to cut. The quince is starting to sprout green buds! Yes. I can almost feel the spring breathing life back into me! Here is what the quince looks like in full bloom. After it blooms, it leaves nice little fruit that makes quite a tasty jelly.

The Superbowl has been played and my husband is one happy man. His team of course, is the Green Bay Packers. I am so glad that they won as I can actually sleep better at night next to a smiling man.

Yesterday I received two copies in the mail of Create and Decorate magazine. The Spring 2011 issue. For those who have held my hand, my doll is on page 52. Not the best picture in the world of her, so here is another view.
The little frog in her lap is from a pattern by a dear dear friend, Kim of Prims by Kim. She has some neat patterns. I decided to embroider the eyes of this adorable froggette and give her a little hat to go with her big gourd head friend.

I have been also busy with some quilting block swaps, trying to get the tension adjusted on my machine. Both of my machines are in desparate need of good professional attention. I am a professional but they don't need a haircut. I don't know what they need but it ain't what I have to offer.

Have a good one!