Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Morning Star decisions

Decisions, decisions, decisions. Which thread to use to quilt? I've been trying to get a few items ready to take to Building Character without actually buying anything. I've been working on a little red and white quilt using the Morning Star pattern. One thing I've really been thinking about is how important it is to use quality fabric. Like I said, I'm trying to make without purchasing. What that means is that the white cotton I used for this quilt has been sitting on my shelf for quite a while. It isn't the best quality for quilting. It'll work but having used some high quality white cotton in the past (which I'm sure cost more, too) was so lovely when I sewed and ironed and quilted. This'll do but I'm not happy about it.

It's a small quilt, probably nice for a little table or a doll or a girl's teddy bear picnic. So, it'll do. The thread will have to do, too. I'm wondering if I can machine quilt with hand quilting thread. The other option is to machine quilt with regular sewing thread or with embroidery thread. The embroidery thread is really nice and shiny and I used it before but it's a little pinker than I'd like. I guess tomorrow will be some sample quilting before getting to the Morning Star. Hope I can finish it by Thursday!

Monday, June 27, 2011

I like to push the Pram A Lot!

I've been working like mad to get this little doll carriage finished. My husband keeps asking if I'm working on the Pram A Lot (which is a Monty Python reference) so we've just started calling the carriage the Pram A Lot. We really do think we're so funny. So you can see the before and after shots here. Isn't it amazing? I still can't believe I was able to find this at a garage sale! Didn't it clean up wonderfully? I just unscrewed the whole thing, sanded, painted and sewed, added a little comfy pillow to the inside, a cute quilt and screwed the whole thing back together. It actually took quite a bit of time but I enjoyed it and think it'll make some little girl VERY happy. It'll be on sale at Building Character for First Friday, July 1. 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

On the Bookshelf

The Omnivore's Dilemma for Kids: The Secrets Behind What You EatThe Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals This is my current read, The Omnivore's Dilemma. I'm almost finished. I'm generally a very fast reader but working full time has really put a cramp in my summer ready style. No more sitting under the tree at the public pool with a book for me. I have been reading it slowly over the last month or so. This book has definitely made a huge impact on the way I think about the food I eat. I highly recommend it. I'm thinking of having Nolan read the version that was written for a younger audience. It has pictures, too!

Slow Food: The Case for Taste (Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History)I just found this one at the library. It's called Slow Food the Case for Taste. Mike and I have really been enjoying our culinary experiences with fresh, local food. We're sort of fighting over who gets to cook! I haven't delved into this book yet and it may have to be renewed a few times before I get to it but it looks to be a good read.

Homemade Living: Home Dairy with Ashley English: All You Need to Know to Make Cheese, Yogurt, Butter & MoreAnd last, but certainly not least, I just got my library order which is called Home Dairy. It's all about how to make your own dairy products. We love cheese so I think the kids could get into making their own. Mostly I'd like to make my own yogurt. It's fairly easy. I was up at 2 a.m. last night so I started perusing the book. There's a little history and some basic facts at the beginning before she starts delving into the how to sections. We'll see how it goes. If I get into it this summer I'll certainly blog about it. There are so many things I want to do and so little extra time. I'm really working on figuring out how to balance my time at home. I can get myself so obsessed with one type of project (sewing, quilting for instance) that I ignore all else. I walked out into the garden today and saw that weeding is really in order. My tomatoes are growing which makes me very, very happy. So it's all about balance. I guess, like everything else, it's also a journey that we take. I'm taking it one step at a time.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Quilted the photo edition

Close up of the quilting.

Backed with a vintage Holly Hobbie sheet.

View from the front. Will be on sale soon.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Pal Toy-ds by a Gal Pal

 So my very talented husband teaches piano to the above very talented girl from church. It's nice because her mom is a friend of mine and so I get in a little socialization while her daughter is getting a lesson. If you look closely, you can see the little pouch she is holding.
She was inspired by my Pal Toy-ds and decided to make one of her own. This is the marble bag. Isn't it divine!!!! I can't wait to see the finished product.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

English Doll Pram or My Newest Project

 This is what I found at a garage sale on Saturday. I almost missed it because my head was in a box marked antique fabric.
 Here's a close up of the pram. In the background is the little tea set I also bought. As you can see, there's quite a bit of rust on this little pram.
 The rust is nothing compared to the state of the cover. Yuk.
 Ok, wait, this is the inside of the pram. I don't think anyone wants to put their baby doll in this thing! Double Yuk.
 I spent the afternoon unscrewing the pram, sanding and painting the body and sanding the rust from the metal.
Here's a closer look. It isn't perfect and I should paint it but how to deal with the tires? Maybe I'll just clear coat it after I attack the rust one more time. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day Mug Rug

My dad drinks coffee all day long. There is always a pot going strong. Personally, I can't stand the coffee he drinks but to each his own. So for Father's Day I bought him a bag of Starbucks House Blend and made him a mug rug. I love that they're not called coasters any more. Mug Rug is so fun.

But I digress. I had left over printer fabric from this quilt. So when I was thinking about what to get my dad for Father's Day, I thought I'd make him something to go with his coffee. What better than a coaster? (ok, mug rug). This photo has always been one of my favorites. The original photo is in color but we were out of color ink so I went with black and white. My mom made us matching dresses and I guess one of my brother's took this picture. It's probably the only photo of me as a child with both my parents alone. 

On this father's day, I have to say some really nice things about my dad. He is one of the only people I've never seen angry. Everyone loves him. He gets enjoyment out of the simplest things. As a teenager he would hop right out of bed to pick me up when I was stranded without any anger or lecture. He is the biggest tease ever. 

Happy Father's Day, Dad. I know you'll never read this post since you don't have a VCR let alone a computer but thanks for being the best!

Pal Toy-d How To Part III

Hello and welcome to part three of my Pal Toy-d tutorial. If you've been following along (Part I and Part II), you'll know that today I will show you how to make your Pal. I find this the most difficult of the steps but at the end, the part I like the most.
Step 1: Gather your materials. For this Pal I used three different fabrics, the white for the face, the apples for the front body and the green for the back. I used a piece of trim for across the seam.
 Step 2: Sew the front fabrics together and iron toward the darker color.
 Step 3: This step is optional. I sewed some ribbon across the right side of the front right where the seam was sewn.
 Step 4: with right sides together lay the backing fabric over the front joined pieces. Draw the shape you want for your Pal. I try to make sure the "face" takes up a bit less area than the "clothes" fabric. It's up to you!
 Step 5: Sew along the line. 
 Make sure you leave enough space to turn your Pal right side out.
 Step 6: Cut around your seam. Leave more fabric where you intend to turn. This helps when you go to sew the seam shut.
 Step 7: Get out your chop stick and turn your Pal right side out.
 Step 8: Stuff your Pal with Polyfil (or whatever you want). Don't make her too fat or the Altoid's tin won't close.
 Step 9: Sew the seam closed.
 Hey, we're almost finished! Doesn't she look like an Easter Egg?
 Step 10: Embroider the face. You could also draw or paint her face if you want. I'm not so good at doing it that way and you can't erase mistakes. At least with embroidery I can (and have) pick out the stitches if I make a mistake.
 Well, there she is, all tucked in for the night. I know I'm always smiling when I get to snuggle down for the evening.
All she needs is a name. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. I'd love to know if you make a Pal Toy-d. Also, if you have any questions, just leave me a comment and I'll get back to you just as soon as I can.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Pal Toy-d How To Part II

Welcome back! I hope your tin is looking good from the outside. Today I'll show you how to get the inside looking like a bedroom.
 Step 1: Take your wallpaper (or whatever you choose to use. I've used fabric or regular paper, too) and trace the top of your tin. You will want to cut just inside the line as the inside of the tin is slightly smaller than the outside. 
 Step 2: Glue the wallpaper to the inside top of the tin. Be sure to spread the wallpaper as flat as you can.
 Step 3: Trace the bottom of the tin onto a piece of batting. Cut slightly inside the line. This is your mattress. You can also use felt for this step.
 Step 4: The blanket. For this tutorial I thought we'd just make a simple blanket. You can also make a cute little quilt if you'd like and have the skills. For the blanket, take two pieces of flannel and one of batting. Sandwich the batting between the flannel, right sides out. Just make sure your pieces are larger than you want the blanket. I really just eyeball this but you could also trace the size onto the flannel.
 Step 5: Quilt the blanket. I just sewed diagonal lines across the fabric making sure I sewed beyond the ends of my blanket.
 Step 6: Cut the blanket where you want. Zig Zag around the ends. You're left with something like this.
 Step 7: For the pillow I take four layers of batting.
 Step 8:  I then sandwiched the batting between two pieces of cute flannel, right sides out. Zig zag to delineate the outside of the pillow. Again, I really just eyeball it but you could draw the outline and zig zag over it.
 Step 9: Cut around your zig zag. Be careful not to cut into the zig zag as it will make your thread unravel. 
 Step 10: Put everything together. I like to fold down the top of the blanket. It just seems more homey. But, that wall looks a little blank.
Step 11: I decided my Pal Toy-d collects birdhouses. She hung a few in her room. Add stickers as you desire.

I hope you enjoy making the inside of your tin feel homey. Check back in tomorrow for my last tutorial. We'll make our Pal Toy-d!
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