Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Fabric tree tutorial


Here is a photo tutorial to make your very own fabric tree.....


Saw a piece of branch and drill a hole in the middle. Glue in a 35cm/14inch dowel. 


You will need 5 fabrics for the tree. You can create a template from newspaper to get the shape right for each fabric. The sample is done using 5 fat quarters which were stacked and cut at once to give me extra fabric for 5 trees in total. 


First discard a triangle at the bottom of the stack if you are using all 5 at once. This should measure 15 to 17 inches on the wide side of the triangle.


Now cut the remainder of the fabrics in 5 strips of varying widths. This is done is any way you prefer but I recommend you do vary the strips to add interest. If you make a paper template. Cut the newspaper to 50cm x 55cm/20 inches x 22 inches. Cut off the bottom as shown in the previous step and then cut strips of paper in various widths. Use these strips for each of the fabrics you wish to use in your tree. 


Sew the strips in order and lay with right sides together. The strips are not even at this point. Cut along the long side (these are the long diagonals of the fabric to the right and left in photo 5) to make an even seam and sew this seam. This will be the back seam of your tree. Notice the shorter diagonal line (left side of fabrics on photo 6) is not used yet as this will become the bottom seam in the next step. 


Once the back seam is sewn you will center the seam at the back of the piece and lay this flat with right sides together. The two shorter diagonal sides now form a straight line. Trim this seam (photo 7) to create a nice straight seam.


For this bottom seam, you will want to use a 1/2 inch seam allowance instead of the typical 1/4 inch to give you extra fabric to hand sew the opening later. Leave an opening about a hand's width in the middle of the bottom seam for stuffing. This means you will need to sew a separate seam both to the left and right side of the bottom.


The front of the tree has straight seams (photo 9). 


The back of the tree has a diagonal seam running through the middle (photo 10).

Stuff the tree. This does not need to be hard. I use Ikea SLÅN pillow which I cut open. The filling of this pillow is perfect for crafts and much more economical for me here in Holland. Use what you prefer. I ended up using half the filling for my tree which is 225 grams of filling.


Sunday, July 19, 2015

Christmas in July 2015.....

Early in July was our yearly celebration of Christmas in July for my quilt group. We had a salad bar set up by half the group. They did a fabulous job and the table was overflowing with delicious choices to put a salad together! It was hard to choose what you wanted. During dinner, I raffled off gifts under the Christmas tree. One of the fun things about leading this group is being able to surprise them often with gifts. 

After dinner, we started on our surprise project. They were all asked to bring in a roll of green fabric. I provided the rest needed. There were ladies beavering away at the work tables to create their (Christmas) tree. Some ironed, cut, sorted, pinned and sewed. When the evening was done, we had a forest of trees complete as you can see in the first photo. I will be posting a photo tutorial to make a tree of your own in my next post.

One of the gifts I made was this little sewing butler. I bought an olive dish with a toothpick holder attached. Using a small plate, I cut, sewed and stuffed a circle of fabric. This was then glued into the toothpick holder to create a pincushion. Now it can hold pins and needles while thread and scissors sit in the dish. 

Have a creative day!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Meet Ralph!

Meet Ralph...Rudolph's little brother. You mean you never heard that Rudolph the Reindeer had a little brother??? He is too little to work hauling Santa's sleigh so he hangs around the Elves Workshop instead. 

This UFO almost got thrown out. I started him and was not happy at all with it. I did not like my fabric used and felt it was not well sewn. But a number of quilt friends and family convinced me to finish him off. I am glad I did because now I love him because he is so different. *grins*

Since I have been good and working on some UFOs, I decided I was going to start on a quilt which has been on my wish list for some years now. I have been wanting to make a Baltimore Album quilt but with a twist. What is that twist? I am using a taupe background fabric instead of white and using all taupe inspired fabrics for the appliqué instead of primary colors. My first block is all but finished...just doing some french knots above the tulips. 

I have to make some decisions about the setting for the quilt and if I want borders. I have had fun looking at lots of pictures of antique Baltimore Album quilts. I will share more as I progress.

And finally...since you met Ralph...I have to show you something that happened to Miss Pickles the Elf (who masquerades as Heidi ... lol). Last Friday was a really hot day here in Holland. Actually it was tropical at 34C on the terrace of Cranberry Cottage. On the way up north, Miss Pickles spied this truck in front of her. WOW! What a great way to have cool thoughts for an elf in hot weather.....CHRISTMAS TREES!!! 


Friday, May 15, 2015

Has it been that long???

I have really neglected blogging lately. It is a busy time in my home and I seem to run from one thing to the next as well as one project to the next. Here is a little glimpse of what I have been working on...

I crocheted a wrap for my mother who visited us for the month of April. She always comments on my own shawl (click to view) so I wanted to make her one of her own. Her favorite color is red.

I made a one of a kind pincushion as a birthday gift for Bep who is a quilting friend. This was a frame for a picture but it just made me think pincushion. 

I joined a quilt themed book club. They sometimes do a quilt along as they read a book. We were rereading The Quilter's Apprentice by Jennifer Chiaverini and they started making Sarah's Sampler. I decided at the 11th hour to make one of my own interpretation. It is using 6 inch blocks and will be done with the garden maze setting. These were the first four blocks and my schoolhouse had to be reworked since then. I realized the next day after making it that doing patchwork when I am having a major FM attack is not a smart thing to do. *sigh* I have made more blocks but don't have a photo yet to share. More later of course...

In April, we had a spring surprise evening for the quilt group. I love these evenings because of the excitement of the ladies as they arrive anxious to see what the project was. They all made a crazy quilt strip as homework. Most thought it was going to become a bookmark but wrong guess. They got 4 small bottles and a birdcage button when they arrived and added a square to the sewn together strip to make a holder for the bottles/vases. Some of the finished holders are shown below. 

My goal for 15 UFOs is coming along so I will share another finish with you in my next post. Who knows...I might have the next finish done by then too. It is close to being done. But until then, I hope you are having a creative weekend!


Sunday, March 29, 2015

Dolls quilts and tea time for bears.....

In my quest to finish 15 UFOs this year, I added one more finish to my list. This quilt was started back in 2013 for one of Lori at Humble Quilts QALs. Who knows why it sat awaiting only the last strip of sawtooth border and quilting? I will edit my post later and let you know the size. I am at Cranberry Cottage for a quilter's weekend and forgot to measure it. 

This QAL was all about using on orphan block and creating a quilt around it. This block was left over sample block from my basic patchwork course I taught years ago. You forget over the years that those simple blocks you use to teach quilting are just beautiful blocks. I just love how this little doll quilt turned out! Thanks Lori for encouraging us to grab those orphans and give them a home. 

It prompted even the name for my quilt. 

Wednesday was busy day for Yona. He had a visit from his brother now named Muis (Mouse) who is seated on the right and his teacher Beer (Bear) seated in the middle. 

When Wilma and I finished our bearmaking classes, I invited our teacher Annemieke and Wilma to my home for a Teddy Bear High Tea. Of course, those three bears could not be left out! Yona had fun helping met set the table before our guests arrived and left a naughty mess on the table. He put bear paws (in the form of chocolate brownies) and bear poop (chocolate covered peanuts) all over the table. Silly bear!

I wanted to send Wilma and Annemieke home with a special reminder of our afternoon so I made them each a bear mug rug as a gift. 

That same evening, Beer was back home again with Annemieke and crawled into his bed with his mug rug to use as his very own quilt. Thanks Annemieke once again for sharing your talent for bears with us and for allowing me to share this photo of your own sweet bear. 


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

American Tiles - a rag quilt

Being busy with UFOs means less online time for me. My blog has been neglected while my quilting is having a big boost of progress. I finished two UFOs in February. One was the 50 Hearts Jubilee quilt which I already shared and the second is this rag tile quilt. I used this as a sample project last year with our group group's theme of rag applique but did not get the quilt done. Since I set a goal of finishing 15 projects in 2015, this was at the top of the list. A simple and fun quilt to make...

All you need is one charm pack and a piece of background fabric. I pulled out the squares that I wanted to keep whole and then started cutting some of the charms in half for two rectangles and some in 4 small squares. Start placing them on the quilt background to test your placement starting at the top left corner working across and then down. In the end, I had one rectangle and three small squares left over which I used for the quilt label. Pin each piece in place on a quilt sandwich (background fabric placed on top of a piece of batting and backing fabric) as you will be quilting this by sewing each piece in place. Machine sew each piece in place 1/4 inch from the raw edge of each fabric. 

I have not thrown this in the washing machine and am not sure I will. I might simple keep picking threads here and there to ravel the edges. It would make a great playtime quilt for children using fun fabrics. The biggest job was tucking in all my threads when I was done sewing. 


Friday, February 20, 2015

The birth of a little bear.....

A wish was fulfilled when I took a workshop in bear making this month with Wilma. We arrived early and started on our bears full of expectations. First we choose our fur and traced the pattern. Carefully the fur was cut being sure to keep as much of the bear fuzz as possible in tact as we cut. I was so excited to see the bear's head. 

We started sewing the pieces together on a real Singer featherweight. How fun to use this machine! 

Lunch breaks sustained us as we worked.

Our first day of the workshop was over so quickly and we were so excited to give our bear heads their first drive home. They already had so much personality.....

Two weeks later...my homework was done and my sweet little bear was ready to go back to the workshop to be finished off.

It was quite an operation. My little bear got his eyes followed by legs and arms attached. Then came the excitement of stuffing him. He was almost there. He only needs a nose and mouth and paw markings. 

At the end of the second day, little bear was officially born. He and his brother happily posed for photos.....

Enjoyed their first time in sunshine......

...and Usdi Yona (Cherokee for little bear) came home to keep me company. I smile each time I see him. He sits here on my desk talking to me as I blog. 

Thank you Annemieke for giving Wilma and I our first bear workshop. For sharing your expert knowledge of bear-making and for your hospitality!

Heidi and Yona

P.S. - Thank you all so much for the comments on my previous post on my birthday quilt. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

A year older and a quilt richer.....

A year ago on this very day I turned 50 and started my jubilee quilt. Today a year has passed and I have a lot to be grateful for in life and much to look forward to. My jubilee quilt is finished and hanging in my living room as of yesterday. 

I spread out the work on this quilt, appliquéing my hearts throughout the year and in various and fun places. From sewing while in traffic jams to being on vacation these heart blocks hold memories. The last heart was appliquéd with a different fabric than the others and placed in the bottom left hand corner since I am left handed. 

The quilt was actually done a month earlier but I waited until the last day of my 50th year to sew on the quilt label which is when a quilt is really finished to me. I love The Bronte Sisters but especially Emily so choose a quote from Wuthering Heights to calligraphy on my label. 

So today, I am enjoying a relaxing day. Friends came by for coffee and pastries this morning. She even came in the house singing Happy Birthday to me in English. *grins* My husband and I are taking a walk in a local castle grounds and then having dinner out at a favorite restaurant this evening. 

This year, I have a goal of finishing 15 UFOs and this counts as the first on my list. 


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Kitchen jewels.....

My friend Mieke's (no blog) birthday was this week. She recently got a new kitchen so I wanted to make her dishclothes as part of her birthday gift. 

They were crocheted with Drops Paris cotton and a 5mm crochet hook so worked up very easily. Each a different design and one using all the colors together. They were fun to make.

Happy birthday Mieke!


Thursday, January 22, 2015

A fast paced start to 2015.....

Yikes! I have neglected this blog and see this is the first post of the new year while January is already 3 weeks past. But I have not been sitting around....well once in a while with a good book....as I have many goals set for 2015. 

First I decided to set two goals for this year with one being in our home and another with my hobbies. I am striving to finish 15 UFOs this year. I need to make a dent in the quilt tops I have laying around! There is an entire closet with them (I kid you not!) hanging there crying out for some love and attention. This month I want to finish a doll quilt (right photo) from Humble Quilts quiltalong called Faithful. I had to sew on the already made up last two sawtooth borders and then add a last border. It took no time at all and I could sandwich it ready to start quilting this weekend. Why did I put it aside??? I love how it came out! 

I am also putting the border on my 50 Hearts Jubilee quilt. I want to be ready to sew a quilt label on it on the last day of my 50th year. I am sewing the quilt binding on by hand and then need to make the tunnel before I start to design a label. 

Our quilt group theme starts each year in January. This year we are making crazy quilts. I bought each person a cute Dutch gabled house (from Action) and they used them to practice drawing out their crazy quilt design on muslin and then sewing the block with ribbons or laces of their choice. Here is the sample block. Next month we practice stitches and then they can get started on their quilts. 

Jannie (no blog) and I have started a new project for our monthly lacemaking afternoons. We are working on Kantje Per Maand (Lace per month) which is a 40 month project to celebrate the upcoming 40th anniversary of the LOKK which is the Dutch lace organization. We are on the second lace piece now. When completed, we are sewing the laces onto a piece of linen and then to a wooden bobbin as a lace sampler. 

I am using my roll lace pillow for this project which is very dear to me. I bought this pillow at a lace market second hand. It was unique in that it had the roll pillow and a small square to use for most kinds of lace. However, it was looking very much the worse for wear. But I recovered the tatty fabric and then put a pretty old Dutch band around the edges. It looks like new again and is pretty just sitting in the living room.

Last but not least, my friend Mieke (no blog) and I are still working on the Scheepjes CAL 2014. We decided to give it our own twist. We are making two of each of the blocks posted then adding various other blocks to give us a sampler afghan when it is done. We get together once a week to work in it and enjoy a long lunch together.