Monday, July 30, 2012

Perfectly Purple Popcorn Perfectionist

A few months ago my friend challenged me with a task to make a truly unique puppet. She is a phenomenal writing teacher and is planning on using the puppet to help grow her students as writers. How awesome is that? It gets better. Her class is always thinking of ways to make stories "pop" as they move from kernel essays to popcorn essays. 

Now, I have a puppet called "Pop" and you might remember him. You can find him on my puppet page. Even though he initially seemed like a perfect fit for this puppet, I try to keep all my creations unique. My friend also mentioned that her puppet should be a boy and that she loves purple! So, after much thought, the "Perfectly Purple Popcorn Perfectionist" was born!

They are always a little shy before they meet their owner!

He's equipped with a red and white vest, bow tie, and popcorn yellow buttons inspired by a traditional popcorn container.

I had to see if he liked popcorn....

 ...and he does! The Non-GMO kind of course!!!!
This handsome friend is complete with his very own birth certificate!

Of course, I believe everyone should have a puppet no matter what your line of work, but if you are a teacher, you definitely need one! Contact me for your own before the school year starts!

So all in all, I hope my friend and her new class of students are going to grow attached to this little guy. What do you think?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Kaleidoscopic Kites Quilt

After I completed the Rail Fence Quilt, I looked at my fabric and came to the realization that most of it was blue and lime green. I guess it is obvious that I love those colors! So, for my next quilt I knew I wanted to work on something that had a variety of colors. This would also allow me to start building up my "fabric stash." Here is a link for the free pattern.

So, I started with this stack of fabric. It was all washed and folded so pretty! Did you know that there is a method to this? There are some seriously creative ways to fold and organize fabric. If you are a quilter, you probably have a cool way you like to do it! Please share!

Cutting, measuring, cutting, measuring, cutting, measuring...

At the dollar store you can buy a cheap tablecloth with flannel backing to hold your pieces of fabric. A super cheap way to layout the quilt design before actually sewing it! (Thanks Jeananne! Seriously, I was about to go to the store and purchase a bunch of flannel until my friend hipped me to a cheaper way.) Since I used two to three different types of fabric per color I actually switched quite a few squares around until they were in their desired position.

This did not take long to sew. Wouldn't it look good if all of the white squares were black? Hmmm...

The quilt sandwich is all quilted! With my walking foot I quilted diagonal lines in both directions. A few of the lines are a little wonky, but overall I think it turned out beautifully!  I didn't measure the lines out ahead of time so I was just using my spatial reasoning skills and going by the patterns already there on the quilt top. Needless to say,  it was very meditative quilting all of the lines.

I loved the binding fabric. It was a greenish-blue design. Go figure, I love those colors! After I attached the binding to the quilt I sewed the rest of the binding by hand. It took forever, but it really does look a lot better for both sides of the quilt! And hey, my hand sewing is really improving! Yay!

For the backing fabric I used a soft yellow! I love how it looks with the binding fabric.

There's nothing better than laying on a homemade quilt in Zilker Park. All of those colors next to the green grass...lovely!

64" by 72" was the finished quilt size.

Somebody else really loves it, too. Look at that face, I don't think I'm getting this one back!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Grandma Marge's Old Couch

Recently, I made some homemade items from my Grandmother’s old raggedy couch! She had it for so many years and before it went in the trash, I asked my mother to salvage some of the fabric. We had so many good times on that couch over the years, I just had to make a few items to savor the memories!

I made a purse, eyeglass case, and a bunch of credit card holders. All of the items are lined with a white eyelet fabric. Grandma Marge decided to use one of the smaller card holders for her rosary. I kept one for myself to hold some gift cards. The possibilities are endless for those little pouches! I only wish I had more fabric from the couch!

This is Grandma Marge standing in front of her new couch with her new 'old couch' purse. Overall, she loves and uses all of the recycled couch goods. I know this because when we talk in the morning I get a full report. So, before your Grandmother throws out her old couch or anything with some fabric on it...make a few keepsakes. She'll treasure them and appreciate that they are handmade! 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Piano Mug Rug Tutorial

I had a few friends ask me about how to make this Piano Mug Rug so I figured it would be a perfect way to try my hand at creating a tutorial. If you attempt it, please leave a comment below and tell me how it worked out for you! Thanks! :)

Materials Needed:
Rotary cutter and mat
Sewing machine
Coordinating thread: black, white and teal

1/4 yard white
1/4 yard black
1/4 yard teal

1/4 yard batting



1. Cut the following pieces:
white fabric: (10) 6.5" x 1.5" (these will be for the white keys)
black fabric: (1) 6.5" x 10.5" (this will be for the backing) 
                     (7) .5" x 4" (these will be for the black keys)
batting: (1) 7" x 11" (I pieced together some leftover scraps from another project)
teal fabric: (1) 2.5" x 36" (not shown above)

2. Using white thread, sew two white strips together with the right sides facing each other using a 1/4" seam allowance. I used my quarter inch foot to help me keep my stitches straight.

3. Take another white strip and sew it onto the opposite side of the seam you just sewed. Continue to connect all of the white strips. When you finish you will have all ten strips connected like the picture above.

4. Press all of the seams to one side.

5. You will end up with 1" white piano keys.
6. Pin the black fabric to the white fabric as shown in the above picture. Each black key should be centered in a seam.

7. Sew around all 7 black keys with black thread using a zig zag stitch. On my machine I used stitch number 17. *Update*  On other projects, I used fusible web and that makes for a much cleaner piano key. Choice is yours!

8. Trim all of the loose threads from the stitching. If you use fusible web it's much cleaner and no clipping involved!

9. Make a quilt sandwich with the top piece (the one with the piano keys), the batting, and the black backing piece. I made the batting measurements a little big, so make sure that the top and back line up on each side.

10. Using safety pins (I prefer the curved kind but the regular will work just fine) pin the three layers of fabric together. Since it is such a small piece, I try to pin around areas that I will not be sewing. Generally, you want to place the pins around 5 inches apart.


11. Using black thread, stitch a straight top stitch down each seam. This will separate each white key.

12. Take your ruler and trim up any excess fabric from each side.

13.  Take your teal fabric and press it in half. Pin and sew binding using teal thread. For a great tutorial on how to make and attach binding, click here.

And Voila! A Piano Mug Rug! Enjoy!

If you make a mug rug using this tutorial, post your creation in this Flickr group!

Rail Fence Quilt

A few months ago, my talented quilting friend Jeananne gave me a pattern to make a Rail Fence Quilt. I had never made a quilt before so I was super excited to get started! Little did I know how much I would learn and how much I would love making quilts!

I chose to pick BRIGHT fabrics.

These little 5 inch blocks were interesting to arrange. I could have done a pinwheel design but I chose to keep with the rail fence because I liked how it looked with the colors I picked.

Whew! I was glad to have everything sewn together.

Annie Kitty loved it from the beginning.

As soon as I put the borders on it actually felt a quilt to me!

Annie had to inspect! ;)

I decided to stitch in the ditch for this quilt using this helpful website.

Here is the finished quilt!

Here is the happy kitty!