Archive for December, 2010

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One of my favorite swaps is the pillow talk swap on Flickr.  This is my third time participating.  My secret partner expressed a desire for a pillow made with gray, white, yellow and aqua.  As I prepared to design the pillow, I realized that my stash of yellow was sadly lacking.  I had some additions of gray due to the recent 3 x 6 bee (where almost everyone wanted some gray), but not lots of yellow.  I put together certain Kona solids from my bin and then bought some 1/4 yard lengths of various yellows, assembled my grays and aquas and started my plan.   I always pre-wash my fabrics as soon as they enter the house, so they always look a bit wrinkled before I work with them.

I have admired this block for some time now and wanted to try it, plus a member of the mug rug swap offered a pattern for a pieced circle free on her blog.   My initial thought was to combine both.  I drew up a plan.   Here is my drawing:

preliminary work:

My initial combination of the circle inside the square was not working, primarily because I had made the final width of the x blocks too thin by 3/8 ths or so of an inch.  The circular section was just too large.  So, plan B…I chose to use only the X.  I am still very happy with the final result.  Here is the front:

I then tried to choose a color for the quilting, but in the end I just quilted it with a soft white thread. 

Then I chose to dress up the back a little with some buttons and loop closures.  In the past I as I sent off my pillows for these swaps, I always worried about the back and whether or not I had left enough overlap in the envelope.  I am hoping these loops help, plus…they look way cute!

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While snooping around blogland before Christmas, I came upon this site which had some cookies in a jar for Santa.  The labels were cute and I thought it would be a great idea for gifts.  This particular blog also referenced the original idea from Bakerella with some cowgirl / cowboy cookies.  So, I decided to give every cookie nibbler in the family their own jar.  I gave them the opportunity to  request the cookies be made for them whenever they had a craving.  I thought about labeling them Cookies on Demand”…but that seemed a little too brash, so I settled for Cookies by Request.”

The candies in the picture above are actually purple, although they look blue in the photo.  The websites mentioned above both gave out copies of their labels for free, but I needed to something of my own because I was switching up the theme.  I  found this site from HP after googling canning jar labels.  I chose the pastel set.  Here is the back label with the assembly and baking directions on the label.  I copied these from the website mentioned above since the baking directions were identical.

This is what I came  up with for most of my family.  I decided to include who would make the cookies for each person on the top label of the jar.

My son’s girlfriend doesn’t really cook or bake, so this is the label I made for him.

Here is a re-cap of my process…first, I went to Wal-Mart for my Thanksgiving food shopping and found pink and purple M&Ms sold separately.  They were about $4 per container and each container had enough candies for 2 jars.  These were given to the girls.  For the boys I just used a regular bag of M&M candies. 

I also went to Michaels and purchased the Ball Jars with smooth sides (so the labels would stick better)  and some 2 sided tape (as per the directions from the Bakerella blog). 

I began assembling.  I happen to own a canning funnel and used this to pour the ingredients into the jars.  I had purchased the last 6 smooth jars from Michaels and had to supplement with a couple of wide-mouth canning jars that I had in my pantry (you can see the bumps on the label on the far left jar). 

I learned that the packing of the brown sugar is what keeps the white from spilling all the way down the jar.  If you look at the two jars on the left, the first green label jar is a wide mouth where the white sugar slipped, the next is a small mouth jar where I put the white sugar first.  You can see how it is now covering the candies.  I gave these 2 less than perfect jars to a couple of the men in the family (I knew they didn’t really care what the layers looked like).  Well, they were a big success and hopefully they will taste as good as they look!

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I am working on bee blocks and Christmas gifts, so I am limited to what I can show on the blog.  But I have been doing lots of online shopping, mostly from Amazon.  Here are some books that I have purchased this month.  A couple are not new, new-but just new to me ; )

Of course after following her blog for a couple of years, I had to buy Elizabeth Hartman’s new book entitled the Practical Guide to Patchwork.

Then, I have seen so many quilts and blocks about drunken love, that I wanted to read Quilts by Denise Schmidt.

I spotted this book in my LQS at the beach and was intrigued because these tile quilts reminded me of the tile work in Gaudi Park in Barcelona. 

Here are some of my favorite things in this book.

The next two are just fabulous.  I never purchased the first book, so while buying Material Obsession 2- I also purchased the original. 

Love this quilt from MO 2

I wish I had owned this book while I was making a Dresden pillow a few months ago, I was very interested in the variety of quilting this book showed for the different Dresden patterns.

Another book I purchases at the Quilter’s Cottage down at the beach was this little lovely Lots of Scraps.  I really want to make a couple of quilts with this crab pattern for the beach and needed the pattern.  There was a demo hanging up in the shop and I just love it.

Well, perhaps my next post will be about the new clothing and books I have also purchased this month.
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I happen to have the McCall’s pattern # 5903 and thought I would use some of my Kate Spain Christmas fabric (12 days of Christmas) to make some festive  that I could give to friends and family over the holidays.  Rather than use just a contrasting fabric for the top, I decided to make it look a bit like a quilt and piece together some small strips.   I also tried to coordinate the backs with the fronts and showcase the fabrics as best I could.  These are the combinations I came up with after the piecing.

This set contains my favorite print from the line

I really love the ivory design on the red background!

Now for the quilting.

I tried a different quilting pattern on each set just for practice.  On the one above, I learned that I am not so accurate with a double quilted cross-hatch.  I would try a double needle next time. 

Here we are with the first one all trimmed up.

Here is the stack waiting to be trimmed.

Now, here is where I had a problem that I had not anticipated.  This pattern calls for curved corners, which means I needed binding cut on the bias (which means you need more fabric than a fat quarter of each).  So…after trying (unsuccessfully) to bind a curve with a straight binding, I took the botched binding off and re-cut the pot holders to have very square corners.  Now they are 7 ” square instead of 8″ and I am trying to decide if I want a loop attached to the binding or if I want to try a grommet (I think Jacquie from Tallgrass Prairie Studio has a tutorial entitled “adding a grommet” which I will check out once I buy the grommets).  So, I haven’t worked on them since coming back from the beach a couple of weeks ago.  I just hope they get finished by Christmas!

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