Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas to All!

This week, I've been rushing to get an apron made- which will be a Christmas present for a friend. 
The intended recipient requested an apron of black and white toile and 2 days ago, I broke the upperknife of my serger.  Now these upperknives are made of thick metal, much thicker than a rotary cutter blade so it's mind boggling how I managed to do that.  But a quick visit to AllBrands OC Sewing and we were back in business.  Thanks Jeremiah for quickly replacing the upperknife and re-threading my serger too.  You saved me 45 minutes of having to read the manual and trying to shove three threads into the eye of one needle.

So, here's the apron I completed.  It is reversible and keep in mind that white does make things appear larger than they are.  Ha ha.

Oh yeah, and please ignore the sad state of the potted plants.  They are lucky to be green.

May y'all be blessed with peace and love this Christmas and hopefully, Santa will bring you that something special you've been asking for.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Friendship Group Christmas luncheon

Last Sunday, we had our annual Friendship Group Christmas luncheon and this year we we held it at the Cedar Creek Inn.  We've been together as a group since 2001 and we meet monthly to sew, eat and chat.

For the third year in a row, we picked names and either made a gift or bought a gift for that individual.  So, this year, I'd like to share some of the beautiful gifts and creations with you.

"M" received a beautiful table runner and bird house from "K".

"K" received a table topper and gift card from "L".

"L" received a pattern and a wall hanging from me.

I received a pattern, some fabric and a gift card from "J".

"J" received this clear pegboard and a Kai rotary cutter from "P".

"P" received a beautiful wall hanging from "N".

"N" received a Christmas themed table runner from "S"

"S" received this fragrance warmer from "M" (who also picked up the lunch tab for S as part of her gift).

"L" also made these very cute pincushions for all of us!

   And "K" made her famous fudge and jams for us.  No photo because I ate mine already.

Here are a couple of photos of the goat wallhanging I made.  "L" likes goats and she named this goat Willi (pronounced Villie).  She says it reminds her of the goat across the street from her Oma's house in Germany.  Awww... I love that!  This is a McKenna Ryan pattern.

And finally, I have to post a picture of my furry boots.  I call them my "Winter Wonderland" boots and I love them.  Not a pair to walk a mile in (heck, not even a quarter of a mile), but those who know me know I have a shoe fetish and sometimes, fashion trumps function!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Decorating for Christmas- Part One

My quilt studio is still a mess as I have lots of projects and stuff to put away but the Christmas quilts are now up at the studio.  Here's a quick tour.

The first quilt is called "On Donder!".  It is a Robyn Pandolph pattern which came free with purchase with her Roses de Noel line.  The kit and pattern was a birthday gift to me from my friend Lynn.  Did you know that in older books, the reindeer Donner was known as Donder?  Who knew?  I thought it was a typo until I looked it up on Google.  This quilt was completed in December 2009.  I attached little jingle bells on the antlers so the quilt makes a cute little sound.

This next quilt is called Snow Bound.  It is a free block of the month pattern by Bunny Hill Designs.  I completed this quilt sometime in January or February of this year (2011). This quilt is hand appliqued and machine quilted by me.  It measures 59 x 59.

And finally, here's a quilt called Gingerbread Cookies.  It was completed in May of 2008 and measures 56 x 68.  This quilt took a year to make because of all the hand embroidery and applique work.  This quilt has lots of stories to share.  It was started in June of 2007 when I did a lot of travel for work so I know I have taken it to Florham Park (NJ), Seattle and San Francisco.  The nice thing about hand embroidery is that it is very portable and low maintenance especially if you are only using one color of thread.  The part I liked the least was sewing on the buttons for the gingerbread men's eyes and sewing on a gazillion tiny ribbons.  I was willing to pay to pay someone $0.10 for every ribbon sewn on but I had no takers. ;-)

I know the pink pillows in front of the quilt don't quite go with the quilt.  I will have to put them away and show off a couple of my Christmas pillows.  Stay tuned for that.

(Photo from the internet)

Speaking of gingerbread, I love gingerbread (thus the name of this blog).  My favorite drink is a gingerbread latte from Starbucks.  Ahhhhh...happiness in a cup.  Sadly, it is only available from mid November through mid January.  Super love this drink.  My next favorite drink is a gingerbread shake from Red Robin.  I allow myself one of these shakes per year as it is super high in calories.  And no, I am not sharing.  My favorite room fragrance is from Method called gingerbread spice.  However, I believe it has been discontinued.  Not to fear.  I stocked up on it.  And finally, the best gingerbread cake mix is from Williams Sonoma.  I bake it with sliced pear and served warm with whipped cream on top.

Check back soon.  I will have more quilts to share.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving Weekend

Hi folks, how was your Thanksgiving weekend?  Like the rest of America, I stuffed myself (at Lucille's), shopped (the midnight sale at Macy's) and did some home improvement/decorating.

My most notable project last weekend was painting a 6 foot tall bookcase.  The bookcase lives in my sewing room.  I inherited the bookcase and it is probably from Ikea.  It is laminated wood and the back panel is cardboard.  Here is a "Before" photo.

I used an oil based primer and painted on the first coat on Thursday and the second coat on Friday.  Dad assisted with the painting and was in charge of the shelves.  I painted the bookcase.

Here is an "After" photo after 2 coats.  I also lined the back of the shelf with a shelf liner.

The funny thing is you can hardly find shelf liners anymore.  I shopped at the Home Depot when I picked up my paint and supplies and all they had were plain white, a granite and a dark wood grain pattern.  I also went to the usual places such as Target and finally found 2 rolls of this pink and white polka dot at Big Lots.  Yay for Big Lots even though there were only 2 rolls of this pattern.  Shelf liners must not be a popular item to carry at stores anymore.

Anyway, if I were to do it again, I would trim the liner paper so they wouldn't overlap as it was harder to reposition it when the paper overlaps.  It guess I was a bit lazy and was anxious to put my sewing room back together again.

Here's a couple more "After" photos.

I'm quite happy with the result.  And even if it was probably easier to pick up a new bookcase from Ikea, I'm glad I took the time to repurpose an old eyesore.

Now on to quilting news.  The good news is I completed all the blocks to my Mon Ami quilt.  I started this quilt last October 2010 at a quilt retreat with Verna Mosquera.  It took about a year to complete the applique and embroidery of all the blocks and I am now piecing the rows together and getting it ready for quilting.  I'm not sure at this time if I will be sending it out to be quilted or not.  I have a domestic machine and the thought of quilting this myself is already giving me back spasms. 

Here are a couple of the blocks I completed.

And then, I took creative license and changed one of the blocks from this...

to this...

I will post another picture once I have sewn on the mitered borders.  Hope y'all had a wonderful Thanksgiving like I did.  Gobble gobble.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

My First Tutorial: A Triangular Thread Catcher

When I was in Washington state last month, I bought a couple of these thread catchers at the La Conner quilt museum.  They are very handy for neatnicks like me who need a small receptacle to collect all the loose thread when I applique or do any other hand work.

My friend Hena saw this and being an engineer, figured out how to make one in 30 seconds flat.  After she successfully made herself a sample, she showed me how easy it is to make it so here is my first tutorial.

All you need is 2 pieces of fabric about 12 inch x 12 inch in size.  You can make this any size you want but I tend to like it a little bigger so my fingers can fit inside the hole.

First you draw a 60 degree equilateral triangle.  Each side measures 10 inches.  I made my template on paper so it is easy for me to demonstrate and I can also lay this template on my fabric and rotary cut along side the triangle.

After I cut my 2 pieces of fabric the same size as the triangle, I sewed them right sides together.   Be sure to leave a 4 inch gap on one of the sides so you can turn the triangle inside out.

Once you've turned your triangle inside out, top stitch around the triangle to sew up the gap.

After I topstitch all around the triangle, I use a pin to mark the midpoint between each side.  So referring back to my first photo, you would put a pin midpoint between A and B, B and C and A and C.

Then I fold each triangle peak down and pin it as well, making sure that the triangle peaks do not go lower than my midpoint pins.

Then I take one side of the triangle, fold them together and topstitch the sides.  Be careful not to stitch down the triangle peaks.  Make sure to backstitch at the beginning and end to ensure that the sides are securely sewn together.

Take the other 2 sides and do the same.  The result will look like this.

Secure the triangle ears down with a button and you are all done.  Ta Da!!!

Thanks to my friend Hena for figuring out this little contraption.  Hope you enjoyed this tutorial and if you do make one of these threadcatchers, please send me a photo.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Nancy's President's Quilt

Every year, the outgoing president of Beach Cities Quilt Guild receives a quilt from all the members as a "Thank You" for all her hard work.  Each of these quilts are truly a work of art and it is customized to fit a theme and color scheme per the request of the outgoing president.

My friend Nancy wanted a quilt which captures all of her favorite things.  Nancy enjoys baking, wine, quilting (obviously), cross stitch, snowmen, Hummel figurines and bird houses.  So each member of the guild was requested to contribute a block which fit the theme.  The blocks submitted were 5.5 x 5.5  inches and a very talented pool of designers put all the blocks together and a quilting bee is organized so everyone can hand quilt this project.  I am truly impressed with all the talent in our guild.

And here is the big reveal.  Isn't it gorgeous?

Here are a few close up shots of the quilt.

Each member did something different.  Some did hand embroidery, a few did machine embroidery, a few appliqued blocks and it would really take time to examine and appreciate each and every block. I want to apologize in advance if I don't give credit to every individual whose blocks are featured or included on this blog.

And here's the block I contributed.  It represents Nancy's grandson Kyle, which I'm pretty sure is one of her favorite things!

Congratulations Nancy and thank you for your leadership at BCQG.