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Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Weather Says Christmas!

Whew!  I simply cannot remember a November this cold and snowy!  Luckily, we have had mostly cold temps...I feel for the folks around Buffalo or in areas that are buried in snow!

But the cold and the snow certainly put me in a bit of a Christmas mood....

Last weekend I got together with a few friends to make Christmas stockings and do a little hand quilting and embroidery.  I began piecing together a clamshell project in cute kitschy fabrics.      


I appliqued these to a foundation fabric marked with a grid...I used Aurifil thread to applique.  It is amazing for applique!  and my very favorite Richard Hemming Milliner needles in size 11.  These needles are awesome!

 
Once my 'fabric' was complete, I went back and pick stitched with black Valdani thread!  I love the black stitching...
This will be my 'fabric' for the stocking.  I just haven't had the heart to cut it yet, but as soon as it is finished, I will share it here!  I just love those clamshells!

While I had the Christmas-making spirit, I put together a little zippy bag using the leftover pieces from my Sew Together bag!

  
I added cute little felt balls on the zipper pull...thanks Janelle :)

This is the perfect size to hold small scissors, a bit of thread and needles, or chapstick, tissues...even a cute little tin with some change!  thanks Clare :)

  
It feels good to get a little of Christmas sorted out!  I love Christmas sewing....I only wish it wasn't such a hectic time. More time for sewing :)

Stay warm!
mary

Friday, November 14, 2014

Liberty and Linen Advent Calendar!

Did you have an Advent Calendar when you were little?  We had one every year, but it was one of the cardboard calendars with the little windows that opened.  Each window had a surprise picture waiting to be exposed.  I always thought it was so much fun, but usually all of the windows were opened by the end of the first week!
Years later, I realized some kids had calendars with little pockets for real surprises!  Imagine!  Not a little picture of what you could possible have, but an actual surprise! Hmmmmm....

So, now that my kids are way beyond the Advent Calendar age...hehe...I decided to make a calendar for my niece to hang in her home. The pockets are just the right size for little softies, a bit of candy, or a candy cane, a matchbox car or my pretty pony!

    
If you follow me on Instagram you might have seen the sneak peeks...I also had a few requests for a tutorial...
so here you go!

MOLLY FLANDERS ADVENT CALENDAR

Supplies...
Background fabric...22" wide X 39" long (I used Essex linen in Flax)
Pockets and Pocket linings....25 pockets and 25 pocket linings 4" wide X 5" long (I used Essex for the pockets and Liberty for the linings)
Numbers from number printed fabric, or number stamps, or fabric to make your own numbers and a fusible webbing...more on this later
Thin Batting
Backing fabric
Embroidery floss or Perle cotton for stitching...I use size 8 Valdani Perle Cotton
A disappearing marker such as Frixion pen 
_______________________________________

Begin by cutting 10 inches off one end of your background fabric, leaving a 22" wide X 29" long section and a piece measuring 22" wide X 10" long.  Set these aside.

Making the pockets

Cut 25 exteriors for the pockets 4" wide X 5" long and 25 pocket linings, also 4" wide X 5" long.

Place the lining and exterior together with right sides facing and using a 1/4 inch seam allowance, stitch both long sides and the top short side....leave the bottom short side open

Turn the pocket right side out.  Push out the sides and the corners and press well. A chop stick works well for getting into small corners.

With the pocket exterior facing up, fold down the top end about a half inch, exposing the lining fabric and press again.

 

Stitch across the lining edge by machine or with floss/perle cotton....

For each pocket you will need a number so the kiddos can count down the days!
I used a fabric with numbers that I could cut apart, other options would be to make your own numbers with fabric and fusible webbing.  If you have a Silouhette or similar cutter, this would be perfect for making numbers.  Also, there are many sites to download fonts. So you can easily print out numbers and even change the size in your printer. Another option would be to embroider your own numbers (you may want to embroider before you add the lining fabric).  Or you could stamp numbers using stamps and ink.  How about making your own stamp!  Get the kids involved and have them help make potato stamps!  So many possibilities!

Stitch the number to the center of each pocket exterior and then go back over the machine stitching with floss or perle cotton.  Be sure to leave at least a 1/4 inch from the bottom open edge free.  This area will become a seam allowance for your pocket.

**note: if you don't like raw edges you can either turn under the edge or use fusible webbing** 

                  
  After you have the numbers on the pockets, turn the pocket over so the lining side is facing up.  Using a disappearing marking tool or a Frixion pen, mark line 1/4 inch from the open raw edge.

    
Placing the pockets

Take your background piece of fabric measuring 22" wide X 29" long.
Measure 3" down from the top edge and, using a disappearing marking tool or a Frixion pen, draw a horizontal line from one side to the other. This is your top margin.  From this line measure down 4" and draw another line from side to side.  And continue dropping down 4" and drawing a line from side to side until you have drawn 6 lines.  These lines are for placing the pockets.  So you should now have 7 lines total from side to side. Whew!

Skipping the first line, go to the second line (4" down from the 1st line). Starting at the left hand side and on the second line, place a little mark on the line about 1.75" in from the left hand edge.  Now place your ruler edge at that mark and make marks on the line at 5", 10", 15".....


here you can see a small mark 1.75" from the left edge...

 
  placing your ruler at the first mark on the line...make a mark at 5", 10", and 15"...these are guide marks for placing the pockets.

        
Repeat this process for the rest of the lines (lines 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7)

Remember the very first line at the top is just to mark the bottom of the top margin or the header.

Sewing the Pockets onto the Banner 

   Take pocket #1 and flip over so the lining is facing up and upside down. The raw open edge should be at the top and lines matching....like this....the left edge of your pocket will line up with the small register marks you made on the line.

    
Pin in place and stitch on the drawn line.  Back stitch at the beginning of the pocket edge and at the end.

Flip the pocket up so you can see the number and finger press.  If you have marked with a tool that disappears with heat or is set with heat, make sure you simply finger press...don't put the iron to it!

Stitch both sides of the pocket, leaving the top of the pocket open!!!



the dashed marked line shows the stitching area.

Repeat this for 24 pockets.  You will have 4 pockets per line...don't add #25 yet.

Making the point for the Banner

Once you have all 24 pockets on the body of the banner, you are ready to make the pointy bottom section which will hold #25.

Take the other piece of background fabric that measures 22" wide X 10" long.

Fold in half so it measures 11" wide X 10" long. Place the folded fabric on your cutting mat so the fold is at the top.  Line up your acrylic ruler from the top right hand side to the lower left hand hand side.  Notice that when you cut from corner to corner, you will be able to open this up creating a large triangle.   

   
Cut from upper right hand corner to the lower left hand corner...
open

 
 Adding the last pocket

The last pocket will be placed on the triangle. Make sure to leave at least 1/4" clear around all edges for seam allowance.


I placed mine low enough to add a little easy embroidery to the triangle...

Draw a line for the pocket placement and stitch in place like the other 24 pockets. 

I used my marking tool to mark a simple Swedish looking tree with a star on top.  And using a backstitch, added a little simple embroidery.

     
Stitch the long edge of the triangle to the body of the Advent Calendar.  You may want to trim the edge of the body of the calendar before stitching if you prefer less space between the last row and the beginning of the triangle.

Adding the Pick Stitching   

Because I didn't want to add a binding to my calendar, I pin basted a piece of batting to the wrong side of the calendar and did most of my pick stitching (hand quilting, big stitch) on the front only...not through three layers.  I stitched on the line marking the header, stitched each pocket line and between the pockets from top to bottom.

 
The black line outlining the entire calendar was done last...after I had added the backing...through all three layers.

 You may want to embroider Merry Christmas or another Christmas motif in the header area....just a thought.

Because I used a Frixion pen...I pressed my calendar to make the marks disappear.  It's always a good idea to test the Frixion pen with your fabric before you begin any project.    

Putting the Backing Together with the Front

I chose not to do a binding all around the calendar so I could leave an opening and turn right side out.  

To add the backing, I first trimmed any batting even with my calendar front. I stitched a small zig-zag stitch around the entire calendar front to hold the batting and calendar together.  Then I pinned my calendar, right sides facing, with my backing fabric.  My backing fabric was not cut to the size of the calendar.  It was a large piece of fabric extending beyond the edges of the calendar.  Using a 1/4 inch seam allowance, stitch the calendar and backing together...BE SURE TO LEAVE AN OPENING FOR TURNING AT THE TOP OF THE CALENDAR.  
I stitched with the calendar/batting facing me so I could follow the edge of the calendar. Make sure you use a 1/4" seam allowance and you may want to use a walking foot.  

Trim the backing even with the calendar and turn right side out.  Push out all points and corners.  Stitch the opening closed by hand.

After all three layers were together, I went back and outlined the entire calendar with black Valdani perle cotton.

          
Are you still with me???

Adding the Tabs

The last detail is to add tabs for hanging.

Cut tabs 7.5" wide X 9" long.
Stitch in half along the length so you end up with a tube 3.5" X 9".  Press the seam open.  Turn the tube right side out and place the seam in the center of the back of the tube...press well.  Turn under both short ends 1/2 inch and press again.

I added stitching all around the edge.  

Pin the tabs to the top and machine stitch in place.  

Just for fun, I added 3 large X's to each tab!

YOU ARE FINISHED!!!!



**a couple of thoughts**
I hope you enjoy this tutorial, but please refer back to me and  this post if you make a calendar and post it online.

SOME OF MY FAVORITE THINGS:
Valdani Perle Cotton size 8
Fons and Porter Utility Needles for pick stitching...I have tried many but these are by far the best.  They are designed to be used with size 8 perle cotton
Nimble Thimble...I have small fingers and this is the only thimble for me!
Aurifil thread for piecing
  

About the fabrics....I am in the process of opening a web shop! Yay!  My sister and I are working with a web designer to develop a web site...we are getting much closer to a launch date...but everything takes time. We are building inventory, and have some fabulous fabrics to offer.  Lots of Japanese fabrics (like the number fabric), Liberty of London, fabrics from Sweden, and Australia, kits from the U.K.!!!  It's all so exciting!  I will be sure to keep you updated, but you will be able to find us at
www.sunnydayfabric.com
IG: sunnydaysupply
Pinterest: Sunny Day Supply

Have a great weekend!
xo mary
                  

      
  

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wednesday Workings....

A huge thank you to everyone who sent good thoughts and kind words my way....I read every comment and very much appreciate the condolences.  We all love our pets so much!  

But on to other things...
Just in time for Christmas and Advent, I will post a tutorial to my Advent Calendar on Friday!  It is a very easy make!

  
We are all busy, busy this time of year, but I think you will find this cute calendar a quick project.  And lots of fun for the kiddos leading up to Christmas day!

I do have a finish to share with you...
I finally finished this spiderweb quilt....a Kathy Doughty pattern from Material Obsession 2.

 
This one was a couple of years in the making...pick stitched in  black Valdani perle cotton.


A nice big warm quilt for our much cooler temps!

Thanks, again, for all your kind words...stop by on Friday for the tutorial!
xo mary

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Sewing Party....

Hi Everyone!  I just wanted to remind you of The Sewing Party this Saturday, November 8th.

There are loads of classes to view and if you don't have time participate on Saturday, that's okay....you will have access to the classes for 90 days after the event! 

I can't wait to participate in this class! So fun!


The Little Spark – Get to Know Your Creative Process and Rev-up Your Creativity

THE LITTLE SPARK – GET TO KNOW YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS AND REV-UP YOUR CREATIVITY


Educator: Carrie Bloomston


Pop over to www.thesewingparty.com and register today!



Sunday, November 2, 2014

Flanders....

Well, October has turned out to be a very difficult month this year...

I mentioned in my last post that our dear Flanders was feeling a bit under the weather.  She seemed to be on the mend, but unfortunately we lost her last week. A tumor hiding in her bladder. Darn it! 


She was 14 years old, so I knew the day was approaching.  But I didn't realize how difficult this would be. She meant so much to our family.  She loved us and we loved her.

Sorry for being such a lazy blogger lately...and for not being consistent in my blog reading, as well.  I promise to try to do better.  I have some exciting things to share!  
Give your pets an extra squeeze.  
xo mary     

Sunday, October 12, 2014

A Bit of a Break....

So much has been going on over the last couple of weeks that has kept me away from blogging or even catching up on my blog reading....

Most of my time has been spent worrying and caring for my precious pup...


  
It all began as routine blood work before having some dental work done.  But her blood work was a little off and so she was put on prednisone.  While on the prednisone she contracted a nasty intestinal bacteria.  Needless, to say we spent several sleepless nights.  She has been on an antibiotic and is feeling better...but she is an old girl - 14 yrs old.  We all love our pets so much and seeing them get old or ill is very difficult.  But for now she is doing much better.  

In between all the puppy care, I have had a couple of projects to complete for Quilt Market in Houston.  I should be able to tell you more about this later...

It is fun to be able to work with fabric not yet released....and this particular designer is pretty darn amazing...so it is always a joy to work with her fabric!

And, in the last couple of weeks, there have been birthdays!  Mine and a very good friend who has a birthday just a few days before me!   We both love all things Anthropologie!  So a little yummy smelling bar of soap and a handmade needle case fit the bill!

        
I enjoy making these needle pouches...and they are very useful!


Perfect pink stripe lining and a piece of wool felt for tucking needles into.  

I also had some left over blocks because of a measuring error on my part....ooops....so I made a couple doll quilts for a couple of cute little girls....

    

a very scrappy quilt with a scallop border.


And then for the little sister another scrappy quilt!

 
Now Emma and Madeline can keep their dolls nice and warm this winter!

As I said, I also celebrated a birthday!  And received some wonderful handmade gifts!

My dear friend Rachel from Family Ever After stopped by one evening with the most precious mini Dresden!

     
The Dresden Plate block is so near and dear to my heart!  I love this teeny version with sweet embroidery!  It was a happy day!

And my other dear friend, Susan, from PatchworknPlay sent a package bursting with fun!

she knows my love of fun socks!

But best of all, is the Dilly Bag she made using a piece of vintage patchwork I sent to her last year!

 
 
Amazing!  I absolutely LOVE it!  Thank you, Susan!

And I finished my birthday celebration by having lunch with my good friend, Mary Jo!  She is another lover of fabric and quilting!  It was great to see her impressive stash of fabric and chit chatting about quilting.  She is dear.  

Lastly, I have to say to my bee mate, Mary from Mary On Lake Pulaski...your block should be at your house this week!  Sorry I am so late!



happy sunday!
mary

 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop...

Hi!  It's my turn to share a bit about myself on the Around the World Blog Hop!  I was asked to share my story by Jacqueline from Bind Quilts....you can find Jacqueline here....http://bindquilts.blogspot.com.au/
I met Jacqueline through Instagram, and like a few of my other friends she comes from the land down under!
The blog hop is fairly simple....answer a few questions about yourself and nominate a friend or two from near or far to do the same!

So, here we go!
1. What are you working on?
Well, I just finished a quilt for a new baby boy in our family, Miles.  Miles is my youngest niece's first child.  And if she has read the last two posts, then she is already well aware that this quilt will be arriving at her house this week...oops.  

Adapted from Denyse Schmidt's Proverbial Quilt Pattern

There is more information about this quilt a couple of posts back...I will make you work for it...hehe!
I, also, just finished a fun little doll quilt which I will share later.  This is a surprise for someone special, so I don't want to spoil it.

Luckily, these projects are out of the way because I will be doing a little sewing for Quilt Market in October!  Sorry...I can't tell you about that either!  Wow!  I am just full of information!

2.  How does my work differ from others?
Well, I am not sure how it differs, but I think I can best answer that by telling you what I like and where I feel comfortable. Let's begin with the design and the fabric.  I feel very comfortable with traditional designs done with a modern flair.  I know when I look at designs that I am often drawn to curves or circular designs....I like symmetry.  But at the same time I like my quilts to have a "thrown together" look.  I always imagine myself out on the prairie preparing for the winter ahead and using every little scrap of fabric I can find to make a quilt for my children!


Bullseye...traditional block
        
             Cathedral Window....traditional block

   Lark Baubles....me ;)
Not every design I choose involves curves...I have completed quite a few triangle or pyramid quilts...
Like Lark...which was one of the rare occasions I used a single designer's line exclusively....of course, it was the amazing Amy Butler!

 Lark 
If I were asked who I most admire, I would have to say Denyse Schmidt and Gwen Marston. I love their style...it feels so right to me.  Not fussy...just warm, relaxed, perfect in every way.  And Denyse Schmidt not only writes quilt books that make me go back for more, but she is definitely my go-to girl as a fabric designer.

  Courthouse Steps...pattern by Denyse Schmidt


Point Me by Denyse Schmidt
     
I rarely, do a quilt from a single line...I like to mix things up...not too matchy matchy.  Personally, I would throw color theory out the window!  Go with what your heart tells you looks good and works together.  

There is one thing I know for certain about myself, I like happy fabrics!  I like fabrics that are bright and saturated in color.  I love print next to print and color next to color!

Clamshells....me:)
  
That doesn't mean I don't like less flamboyant fabrics...I do. Text prints for instance...brilliant!  The one thing I do grow weary of are fabrics and trends that are formulaic.  Those things that have been done, done, stick a fork in it...done!  I will not cry if I never see another chevron.  There are more than a few trendy prints that have been done way too much...and I never really understood bringing back the 80's.

The last thing I will say about what makes me feel comfortable...  hand quilting.  As many of you know, I love to pick stitch or quilt with perle cotton. There are so many reasons I love to hand quilt.  It is relaxing and makes my mind slow down.  It's not perfect!  I don't care for perfect...I can buy a perfect quilt at Macy's.  Quilts are a reflection of the quilter.  It's a process, from the quilters mind and dreams, to the choosing and editing, stitching the pieces together and making adjustments, to finally the quilting.  The quilting is your signature on the quilt....


   Stashbuster... pattern by Sarah Fielke    
          
Whirligig...pattern by Sarah Fielke

Flowering Vine...pattern by Denyse Schmidt
  
3. Why do I create?
I have to.  Being creative and creating is like breathing.  I just have to do it.  Chances are everyone reading this feels the same way.  Our minds are not still, even at night, because we are dreaming of the next quilt, the next idea to try.  My father was a trained artist...attending art school....worked as an artist for Ohio Art Works and then as a graphic artist for a major aviation company.  I began my college career in Fine Arts and then switched to Elementary Education.  So it has always been a part of my life.     

Log cabin and variations...me:) 
  
4.  How does my creative process work?
 That depends on whether I am following a pattern or playing out my thoughts.  If I am following a pattern, my focus is on the fabrics I choose, the layout, and the quilting.  I enjoy following patterns.  Recently, I have had the opportunity to work on a few projects writing instructions and I found that process very enjoyable.  So following a pattern is just fun!

Made to Measure...pattern by Sarah Fielke

spider web quilt pattern from Material Obsession 2 pattern by Kathy Doughty

Swedish Bloom pattern from Patchwork Please...pattern by Ayumi 
  
Sometimes my creations are a combination of a traditional block and my own interpretation...

my version of Courthouse Steps

Apple Core Block

Flying Geese Block

more Bullseye blocks :)

   
Then, sometimes, its just me and my brain....







 

One thing is for certain...I stood on a lot of chairs!
I have asked a couple of very good friends to join along in this blog hop...you will be able to see their posts next Monday the 29th.

First is a dear bloggy friend from Oz....Susan from PatchworknPlay 
The wonderful thing about blogging and quilting is that you have the opportunity to meet wonderful people in far away places.  I met Susan when I reached out to her for assistance with a pattern.  I knew she had made the same quilt and I needed just a little help to get some instructions squared away.  We became friends.  I can't wait for the day when we meet in real life!

And my second victim friend...hehe...is Rachel from Family Ever After.  Rachel is a friend but not a far away friend.  In fact, Rachel lives just around the corner from me....different neighborhood, but I drive right by her house to go to the grocery!  So I drive right by her house about every other day! hehe! I adore Rachel...she is exactly as she seems on her blog.  She is bright and cheery, a good friend, a wonderful mother....she is like Mary Poppins!

I know you will enjoy learning more about them!  Thanks for visiting!

Cheers!
mary