Sunday, December 20, 2009

Making a List - Checking it Twice

I feel like Santa, except my list does not include gifts or names of good little boys and girls.

 My list is the next step in helping contain the UFOs in my sewing studio.  This is not a task I look forward to, making a list only confirms how much of a porcrastinator I am and maybe I do suffer from ADD (attention deficit disorder). 

I have numerous bags that contain completed blocks or quilt tops that have been accquired through participation in swaps, exchanges and round robins with other quilters all over the world.  Along with these there are many projects that I am guilty of starting all on my very own and I think it only makes sense that those closest to completion will take the top of the list.  Chosing these UFOs will get many projects out of the way quickly and hopefully give me some items to list in my shop as well as some lovely items to decorate my home.

The List: January 2010

1.   Flower Basket Wall Hanging
This is a completed wall hanging that requires only quilting and binding and is the result of a round robin challenge.  The center block, basket with flowers minus the jumbo rick rack handle, was the block I submitted for the challenge.  The two outer borders and the rick rack basket handle were added by the three other participants in my group. This item will grace the walls of my sewing studio when finished.

2.  Rose Garden Rag Quilt
The second item on the list for January is a set of 20 blocks made in flannel.  Each block will be layered and quilted individually and then pieced together with alternating blocks of a contrasting color in a rag quilt fashion.  This will be listed in my shop for sale as soon as it is done.

With Purple as the color theme for the month, I plan to kick off my sewing on Monday, January 4th and I only hope that  I don't sidetracked by other projects that need to get done or new projects that strike my fancy mid-stream.  Let's hope that this year will bring renewed focus and commitment to contain the beast that lives within.

Let me know how you are doing as the month progresses and I will do likewise.  I know that there are others like me out there and I could really use the company and the support of knowing somone else is working along with me.  Maybe we could share photos of your progress also, or if you blog too please share your link so we can check on your progress.

Friday, December 18, 2009

UFO Sightings

UFO sightings are a common thing in a quilter's world.  Many quilters will say that they believe in UFOs and they seem to multiply, and will take over the world if not tamed and imprisoned in  plastic bins, boxes and bags kept in the closet, sometimes kept under the bed and yes sometimes cleverly disguised as furniture.

For those of you that are unfamiliar with the kind of UFO I speak of, well in a quilter's world these are known as "unfinished objects", a   plaque that seems to have no known cure.  Every quilter that accumulates UFOs knows that along with the New Year comes the recurring resolution to finish these creations and not start any new ones. 

Of course, as an experienced quilter and long time resolution breaker, I know that these promises are only futile attempts to contain ones obsession.  The reason is that with every new season fabric designers come out with a new line of fabrics in lucious colors and designs that even the most hardened quilter can not resist.  The cycle is never ending, because it seems that with each completed UFO a new one takes it's place, so for some of us the fight continues.  There are a select few quilters that are not afflicted by this uncontrolable desire to start new projects one on top of the other and to them I say..... Where do I get the vaccine to cure myself?

Quilters Unite!

This year let us make a serious effort to, if not tame the beast within, at least keep it at bay.  If you are one of the many plagued by this affliction, join me and take the pledge to see if we can finish at least one UFO per month, now that is not too much to ask.  Is it?

Let us come together and hope that at least one of us out there can contain this Uncontrolable Fabric Obsession

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Making Memories

A couple of months ago I was at a craft show answering the usual questions that customers have when they see a quilter.  "Do you make all of these?" blah, blah, blah.  It was a slow day and sales didn't seem to be adding up to much, if any profit for the day.  I was getting discouraged especially since the day was almost over, when three people approached my booth and commented on how much they liked all they saw, and as they walked away I thought, "Well there goes another sale". 

As the group settled at another booth one lady walked back and asked, "Do you make memory quilts"?  Oddly enough I was in the process of making a photo memory quilt so I said, "yes".  She continued, saying, "I have 2 bags of shirts and I would like to have 4 quilts made for my family in memory of my Dad".  I had never made a memory quilt using clothing but in an instant my quilter's creativity began to whirl and ideas popped into my head one after the other.  I explained that this would be a first for me but if she was game so was I, she took my card with promises to call.  I have had numerous customers give me the same line so I took it all in with a grain of salt.

The weekend passed and on Monday morning I received a call from the craft show customer.  She had been anxious to call but had thought that calling on Sunday would not be appreciated so she had waited until Monday.  All weekend I had been tossing ideas around in my head and felt downhearted thinking that this was another opportunity that would fall through the cracks, so to receive her call was very uplifting.  We met and discussed design ideas and shopped for all the necessities to make these ideas a reality.  I took everything home knowing that these were to be Christmas gifts so I needed to work quickly but carefully because there was only so much fabric available.

Last week I delivered 3 of the quilts, the fourth will be done after the holidays, and my customer was overjoyed with the results.  She has given me permission to use images of her quilt in my Etsy shop as a custom order, knowing that any other quilt will never be the same as hers because of the memories associated with type and style of shirts that would be used.  If you are looking to make your own memories check out my shop,

All three quilts were designed, pieced and quilted by Quilting Frenzy in my studio.  I found it an emotional journey and learning experience as I took these items of clothing and created a memory of love for my customer and her family.  Two of the quilts were made entirely of flannel and the third was made of dress shirts.

In these quilts are memories of a lifetime that will be recalled everytime these quilts are viewed and when they are used they will bring someone home again.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Hung By the Chimeny wih care

As I continue my decorating frenzy, I don't just quilt like that, I have to move from one section of the room and keep it somewhat organized.  An organized frenzy, imagine that.LOL

I set up my mantel decorations with the focus being a sketch of the city of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany that I purchased at an estate sale about 5 years ago. 

Having spent many years in Germany while DH was in the army, this sketch immediately caught our eye and we just had to have it.  The frame was an inexpensive buy and the mat was a $$$ saving diy project, maybe that will be my next tutorial.

 I love to decorate, but keeping it on a budget is very important to me.  DH and I shop the after Christmas sales for the best bargins and have found some great items.  My tin soldiers, stocking hangers and garland, were all purchased that way over several years but have come together very nicely, at least that is what I think.

The next stop will be my entry way and dinning room as I finish up downstairs.  With Christmas being my favorite holiday and after so many years of collecting Christmas decorations and receiving some as gifts I am able to make my home a holiday extravaganza.  I wonder what I can add to my collection this year?   I still have four weeks to enjoy all this and then I will see what those after Christmas sales have to offer.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Ornament - Gift Tag Tutorial

With all the decorating going on I thought I would put together a fun and easy tutorial for a homemade Christmas ornament/gift tag.  I made a dozen ornaments for a quilters exchange that I participated in this year and I had all of them done in 2 days, so this is a good last minute handmade project.  This is also a good project for using up scraps of craft items you may already have on hand.

You will need the following materials (amounts will depend on how many ornaments you wish to make):

Holiday/Christmas or any fabric of your choice for the front of the tag/ornament
bleached or unbleached muslin for the backing
Peltex, felt or fusible felt (I used Peltex a very stiff interfacing also used for fabric postcards)
Fusible web such as wonder under
Sewing Machine (optional)
contrasting/coordinating thread or thread to match fabrics
cording, ribbon or twine
fine tip permanent ink marker ( I used a sharpie fine tip marker)
hole punch

First start with deciding the shape of your tag/ornament.  For this project I decided to use a rectangular shape but I have also made these using a circle.  I selected a border print fabric with a variety of Holiday items to choose from.

1. You can create a template, cut free-hand or use a clear acrylic ruler to cut out the shape, just make sure you cut out fabrics and peltex slightly larger than you want the finished tag to be.(1/4 of an inch is plenty)  I cut my shapes out freehand.

2. Following directions on fusible, iron the fusible web/wonder under onto the back side of each of your fabrics (holiday fabric and muslin).  Do this step before you cut out your shape or design.  Do not remove paper backing from the fabric yet.

3. On the paper side of the fusible web that has been fused to the fabrics use your template to trace the ornament shape on both the front fabric and the muslin or cut out your shape freehand.

4.  Cut out a piece of peltex slightly larger than the front fabric shape.


5. Following manufacturers directions iron the fabric ornament shape onto the peltex shape.

5.  Place ornament on the paper side of the muslin background fabric (step2) and trace around ornament.  Cut out muslin background just inside of tracing line.

6.  Score and remove paper backing from muslin and fuse to the back of ornament shape.

7.  Trim off excess peltex and backing fabric from the ornament.

8.  Using your sewing machine you can finish off the ornament with a straight stitch around the border or do a satin stitch(zigzag) around the edge using contrasting thread or thread that matches your fabric.

9.  Punch a hole to pass your string, ribbon or twine through. 

10.  Using your sharpie marker write a holiday greeting or the name of the person receiving the gift.

11.  Knot the tie and hang on the tree or add to a gift.

These are great tags that can be made with any fabric design for any occassion so you can use fabrics that represent the person that is to receive them.  I hope you enjoy making these cute little ornament/tags to add to your holiday gifts and decor.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Holiday Cheer

Usually we procrastinate on decorating our Christmas tree but this year is different.  The day after Thanksgiving we pulled out the numerous boxes of ornaments and garland and began the week long event of decorating for the biggest holiday of the year, Christmas.  I thought I would share our progress as everything takes shape.
The family room contains the tree with the most familiar and the oldest ornaments we have, many dating back 30 yrs or more.  Every year we purchased a new ornament for each of our girls adding to their collections as they grew until they moved out of our home to live on their own.  With only one daughter left at home we have her ornaments on this tree, all 20 of them, soon to be a collection of 21 and along with those we have the ones that dear hubby and I have collected for ourselves since we were married.  Ornaments range from the ornate to the silly but each one is loved and cherished every year and each year one more finds its home in one of our trees.

Some may say that we over indulge having a tree in almost every room of the house, of course some of the trees are small and not really the focal point of the room so you really have to look around to find them.  This is my kitchen tree with ornaments that are food or cooking related, such as the cookie and spatula ornaments.  My baking Santa keeps the tree company and watches over my kitchen as we prepare to celebrate our Christmas holidays.

So this is just a peak at the ever growing decorations and everything should be up by the weekend and that means lots of work over the next few days.  With the weather growing colder we will light the fireplace and sip hot chocolate as we sit and enjoy the atmosphere.

Of course some little helpers just have to be the first to sit back and enjoy the atmosphere before everything is finished.