>> Thursday, November 26, 2009

Good Morning!

Here in America we celebrate today as Thanksgiving. Images of Pilgrims and Indians enjoying a harvest meal together come to mind. As a child I made paper hats of feathered headresses or Pilgrim bonnets. It was a time to eat until you were miserable and watch football games while mom cleaned up the mess.

But this holiday actually began when our first president, George Washington, signed a proclamation requested by congress "to recommend to the people of the United States a Day of Public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to form a government for their safety and happiness." Washington then assigned the twenty-sixth day of November "to be devoted by the the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; and to unite all in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country..."

So today, I give thanks to God for all that is in my life. And I lift my voice up for blessings on this country and all countries. May He protect our soldiers and guide our leaders. And may we remember all what God has done for us.

Happy Thanksgiving to each of you.


Great Applique Tools!

>> Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tired of burned fingers, crimpy applique? This evening, as I was trying to avoid first degree burns on my hands, I reached in my drawer of tools and grabbed my Cricut Spatula. It's a very thin, flat spatula. This tool worked wonderfully by holding my fabric down as I used the mini-iron to turn the edges. Because it is thin, it gives a crisp edge. It's about one inch wide which is just the right to hold a small length of fabric. It costs around $5.95 US dollars and you can find it in craft stores or Walmart.

I also use a small metal knife from a child's picnic set. It doesn't cut, but it's good for ironing like the spatula. Your fingers will thank you!

Have you noticed how expensive those pressing sheets are? Did you know Parchment Paper (you can purchase at your grocery store) works just as well?

Do you wonder why ironing boards are so narrow? Not too helpful when you're ironing a quilt top. Sharon Schamber has a great video on You Tube that shows how to make a great pressing board that you put on top of your ironing board. The firm surface makes a huge difference with piecing. Here's a lousy photo of mine:

(Please ignore the messy sewing room). Simply put, get a piece of plywood (mine is two feet by four feet), spray one side with glue, layer with a piece of batting that is about five inches larger than the surface, spray batting surface with glue, layer with a piece of canvas or duck cloth that is about five inches larger than the plywood, flip over, staple excess canvas/batting to back of board, pulling corners and sides taunt. Now flip back over, spray heavily with water and let dry (this shrinks the canvas to make it tighter).

For appliqueing I read somewhere on the web to use a silver gel pen for tracing your pattern on your foundation piece and the piece itself. It shows up on all fabrics. Yes, it's permanent, but it forces you to make your edges meet! I like working with it.

My favorite applique stitch is the ladder stitch. Ami Simms has a great video on QNN that shows how to make her "Invisible Applique" and she also has a great little book about this technique. It truly is invisible.

And finally, I discovered at Bed Bath and Beyond a wonderful lap desk that I converted into a hand sewing and applique desk. In the cup holder I stuffed a pin cushion and in the pencil holder I keep a  seam ripper (I'm sure you're shocked anyone would need that--certainly not you!) The light above really helps you see your mistakes stitches. It only cost $19. 99 I've seen something similar, specifically for sewing, for over $50 at a quilt shop.

Get yourself an early Christmas present and enjoy quilting today!


Fun Floss Bobbins

>> Saturday, November 14, 2009

Does your floss look like this?
Mine does! Yikes!

Does it bore you to wrap floss on these?

Why not have some fun doing this chore by using cute paper bobbins?

Super easy. It took me about ten minutes to make thirty six. Just stamp (or punch) shapes that have an indention in the middle. Then cut them out and snip a slit (to tuck the floss end in). I suggest you use heavy stock paper or index cards.

Have fun!

PS Anyone interested in winding my floss?


Joseph's Coat Quilt-Along

>> Saturday, November 7, 2009

Ta-Da! Introducing my first block for the Quilt-Along. I just love it! The fabric is from "Whimsy" by Michael Miller.

Kellie, From Don't Look Now had very well-written directions on how to make this block. Her applique method is my favorite. Very easy to do and superb results. Check it out (see sidebar).

Have a great weekend!


Travel With Me-Rome, Italy

>> Thursday, November 5, 2009

I mentioned a few posts back that I had the joy and pleasure of traveling to the Mediterranean this last September. It was a vacation of a lifetime. I thought I'd share a story and some photos every so often and "take you along" with me.

Rome is amazing. Americans think 250 years is a long time. As you Europeans know it's a drop in the bucket. It's hard to imagine centuries ago people lived, laughed and cried where we walked.

I stumbled on a fantastic tour called "Scavi Tour" while researching the trip online. We applied to the Vatican to participate (only 120 people a day are allowed). And we were lucky there was an opening. Groups of ten to twelve people are taken below St. Peter's Basilica and shown the exact place St. Peter was buried and the graffiti that says "Peter is here!" with an arrow! Of course it wasn't English...

Early Christians used to gather there in secret to worship. But to be in places early Christians gathered was incredible. The picture above is the public location honoring St. Peter in the basilica. The huge "canapy" is over the site of the moved grave and is made of bronze. To find bronze statues or carvings from the past is rare because they were generally melted down for weapons. This picture below is the actual site where Peter is buried, a few yards behind this alter.

Constantine built the first St. Peter's Basilica there 300 years after Peter's death. It was attacked multiple times and finally a new, grander basilica was built in it's place. (and it's very grand) This is the one that exists today. Seems over time everyone forgot Peter was buried underneath with many others. The crypt was discovered when they broke through a wall while burying a pope.

Because this is a quilting blog, I am adding something we're all interested in! This is a photo of one of the many outstanding tapestries on display in route to the Sistine Chapel. They were drawn by artists and then made by workers. I'll bet the colors were much more vivid when they were made, but isn't this beautiful?!

I hope each of you is doing well. Have a great evening!


Wall Quilt Finished!

>> Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Well, I noticed I had a blank wall...that needed something...what better than a small quilt?

Introducing my wall quilt. the pattern is from "Piece of Pie" booklet and the pattern is named "Skip to My Lou". The fabric is "Peace On Earth" from last winter's Moda collection. Everything I used (besides batting) was from my stash! I have this on a wall in my living room. The room has a creamy butter colored couch and a red ottoman with touches of dark wood around the room. I also made three pillows of the fabric to go on the couch. I chose three blocks I enjoyed and pieced them together. It was fun doing such a small project.

This afternoon I tried to start making "petals" for my "Joseph's Coat" Quilt along. Unfortunately I had the wrong fusible product and had to order it. Nothing more frustrating than wanting to start a quilt project and not having the materials! Rats!

Have a great day!



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