I need some advice on the setting for a scrap quilt... not that I expect to put it together anytime soon, but I'm just planning ahead and daydreaming.
Bridges (upside-down, I guess)?
Broken dishes? Is that what they call this setting?
Or this last one, which I have no clever name for... Keep in mind, I'm only showing a portion of the blocks I have to work with, because that's all that would fit on my dining room table. So if I did go with the block placement in the last photo, it wouldn't be as off-balance as it looks now.
If you have any other suggestions, or links to more settings for these bulls-eye blocks, please leave them in the comments, I'd love to take a look. I really like how easy and fun these blocks are to sew up, and they are so forgiving of errors.
Wow. Been a while since I posted, huh? Those of you who were hearing the crickets chirping, thanks for sticking with me, I appreciate it.
Today was the last day of school. While it's always a bit melancholy, this is the first year we don't have to worry whether or not the school will be reopening again in the fall, so that's definitely good news.
I will sincerely miss both of my girls' teachers.
Rebecca's third grade teacher was new to our school, so a total wild card in terms of what to expect. She was beyond amazing. More than we could have hoped for. Of course, I had to make her a you're-an-incredible-teacher gift, so I went to my old standby and made another covered notebook. This time I used Craft Apple'sSmall Books pattern. I go back and forth between Linda's and Kathy's patterns, I love them both.
Rebecca's teacher is a real Hello Kitty fan, so inside the notebook is a surprise blast of Hello Kitty in turquoise. I hope she likes it even a fraction as much as we like her.
I love glueing a scrap of fabric on top of the notepad. Adds an extra, easy finishing touch. I just use glue stick. Jessica's Kindergarten teacher already has one of these, because I made it for her two years ago when she was Rebecca's first grade teacher. I wasn't sad when Rebecca left her because I knew/hoped I'd have another chance to help out in her classroom with Jessie. Now, I'm definitely more than a little sad.
With the leftover quilted fabric from the book cover (I love how Linda's pattern allows for such excess - takes away the stress of quilting something and having it shrink up too much), I made the girls some reversible cuffs and a bookmark. Seemed a shame to waste such cute fabric, and the sizes worked out perfectly (no picture of the bookmark, though, I can't find it).
Finally, for the new principal, who is warm and friendly, treats me as a valuable, appreciated member of the school, and works her bu** off every single day, I made a patchwork lanyard with school-themed fabrics, and she literally jumped out of her chair when she saw it. Funny, because when I showed my husband he was kind of "meh" about it, and Jessie said, "You know, she already *has* one of those?" Gee, they kinda deflated me, but the principal's reaction and deep hug more than made up for that.
And now, the crafting stuff is over, and the proud mommy stuff begins. Yesterday was the Academic Awards ceremony, and while I knew Rebecca would be getting an award, I wasn't aware that she would receive the three highest honors, straight A's for all trimesters. She got a trio of fancy certificates, a glittery gold pencil, a gift certificate for Benihana, and a shiny gold trophy that's sitting proudly atop our television set. I teared up.
Oh my *gosh* it's been busy since school started! I thought I'd have all this time to myself. I thought I'd either be lonely or else setting up walking dates with my friends, having lunches with my husband, running errands at a leisurely pace, crafting up a storm. Ha! Boy, was I wrong. I haven't picked up knitting needles or a crochet hook in weeks, and I've spent almost every daytime hour at the school, helping out. Ah, well, I suppose I should enjoy it while the kids and the school still need me. I'll have time for myself when there's an empty nest, right?
Anyway, a few weeks ago I finished up some blocks for a swap I was doing. Little 4.5" blocks, mine are hand-pieced and appliqued. The appliqued ones are from Dear Jane, the other (top left) was found on the Sentimental Stitches website, Block 8 (the link isn't working right now), the Tricolor Block.
I made ten of each block. One of each set will be made into a charity quilt by the swap hostess, and the other nine will get swapped out. I'll end up with 27 different blocks back.
I had a lot of fun making the blocks, even though I cut all the tricolor block strips the wrong size, didn't realize it until *after* I'd sewn up the majority of them (like, all but two), and ended up having to unpick and recut and resew...
It's always neat seeing multiples of things you've made. Sometimes that doesn't happen very often; I knit the sweater, sew the bag, crochet the afghan. It's not like I make two or three at a time, I rarely even knit two socks in the same month!
I'll be sure to share with you what I get back in the mail. With 30's fabrics and mini blocks, I know they're all going to be great.
Anyway, I'm making a plea to anyone who has a copy of this issue (the Red Issue, June 2010, Australian Homespun 11.6) and would be willing to part with it (yeah, I know, crazy, right?), or anyone who can purchase it for me, would you like to trade for it? If you don't know how to knit or crochet, I can make something for you, or we can trade for fabric, or for other magazines that are more readily available in the US, whatever. Please let me know, you can email me with the link up there in the top right sidebar (right under the Search Box). Thank you, I've got my fingers crossed!
Jessie came home with the cutest decorations from preschool last week.
Bat wing hands on Wednesday...
... and Boo feet on Friday. So so funny! I'm thinking of having the girls do this on fabric with fabric paint, and making a quilted wallhanging out of it. Wouldn't that be fun, with embellishments and fun Halloween buttons and maybe some pieced pinwheels or prairie points for the border? Ah, so many ideas, so little time. Still working on the knee high socks for Rebecca's fairy costume, and still need to buy some yarn for Jessie's Hello Kitty hat and tail! Maybe next year.
The week before school started my girls were invited to an 8 year old's birthday party. I had to whip up a last minute gift, appropriately wonderful and stylish. It didn't take me long to decide what to make.
Kathy's amazing 12-pocket Pencil Roll, of course. Rebecca helped pick out all the fabrics to match each of the colored pencils, and they were all fabulous choices. Look at that turquoise! Perfect. And the cherries? So cute. All the rainbow colors were from my scrap bins. Actually, every single thing I needed for this project came from my stash.
The pocket and flap were cut from fat quarters I had, and the exterior started out life as part of a brand new set of restaurant-quality dinner napkins I thrifted over a year ago. A durable, almost canvas-like material.
Even the Hello Kitty button was one I had on hand, and the ribbon tie (though I sewed it on backwards, oops) was stash, too. Then I used another napkin for the gift bag, used fusible web and leftover pocket material for the initial, and covered a drawing pad with scrapbooking paper and a sticker. I tied the notepad and pencil roll together with thin satin ribbon, and tucked them inside the bag with a teeny bit of tissue paper, that was it... almost no wasted gift wrap whatsoever.
I enjoyed every bit of this project, and I think the birthday girl really liked it. Her favorite colors and her initial, I hope it made her feel special. I had the foresight to piece together a second rainbow panel to make another pencil roll for Jessie. When I finally get around to it, half the work will already be done. I know she'll need one for the second grade, because Rebecca just brought hers to school, and checked that off her classroom materials list. I sincerely hope it doesn't take me three years to get Jessie's finished. But with me, you just never know.
Oh, hello, hello, finally! That was a painful three weeks without the internet, no dial tone through my home phone, and hours upon hours spent dealing with nice but completely freaking clueless customer service representatives and those blasted voice activated menus. Will someone please tell me why a machine will instruct me to dictate my name, address, ten digit account number, service issue and blah blah blah, put me on hold, transfer me six times, and then, twenty minutes later, direct me to an operator who asks me for the exact. same. stinkin'. information? I just deleted the whole novella I just wrote about the saga, I don't need to relive it. Let's just hope my internet stays connected or my head seriously might explode.
Anyway, moving on. See how magnanimous I'm being? How I haven't even once mentioned which incompetent, royally screwed up company I've been dealing with? I'm so good, huh?
So now it's summer vacation for my 6 year old (the baby still has preschool two days a week throughout the summer because I can't risk losing her spot in the program) and we both are looking foward to a slower, lazier few weeks ahead. This last month and a half I spent most of my days helping out at Becca's school. There was Teacher Appreciation Week, Book Fair, Open House, library inventory, yearbook distribution, taking down the students' work from the walls, submitting another bunch of Box Tops and Campbell's Labels before vacation, and the classroom work I'd been helping out with all year. Rebecca's first grade teacher was just spectacular, the kind you dream of for your
children. She is dedicated, loving, enthusiastic, energetic, patient, and encouraging, and with all that she did for Rebecca and her students, she even took time to make Jessie feel welcome and comfortable.
For the last day of school, I made her a Craft AppleMini Patchfolio, included a brown Sharpie (to match the fabric), and I'm proud of the way it came out. I quilted the flower motifs and that was an easy way to acheive a nice design without having to do any marking or think about it too much. I didn't include the final step of adding cardboard between the layers before topstitching around the whole thing, because I figure this way Rebecca's teacher can throw it in the wash in case it ever gets dirty. I covered the original header of the little notebook pad with a strip of excess fabric and some gluestick, which I think made a really nice finishing touch. Much better than an office supply store logo blazing away up there on top.
And each one of Rebecca's classmates received a little sewn notebook, personalized with their first initial. These were made from some bright copy paper, cut into fourths. Each quarter sheet (4.25" x 5.5") was folded in half individually, corners rounded with my new cool toy (which my husband still can't quite believe essentially performs only one function), unfolded, stacked into groups of eight, placed inside a cardstock cover (4.5" x 6" folded in half and then unfolded), and machine sewn down the center. The initals were taken from scraps of the cardstock, or cut with my Sizzix, and raised with a bit of foam tape.
I actually had all of my year-end gifts completed and ready to go well before the last week of school. Didn't have to stress out or stay up late one single evening, nearly a miracle for me. And I'm sure entirely due to the fact that the vortex that is the internet wasn't available to me. So I guess it wasn't all bad, huh?
Before I forget, I wanted to show my latest Star Struck blocks.
The peachy pink one.
And the blue batiks. I'm much more satisfied with the way my blocks are coming together now that I've changed the way I press my blocks. Following Elizabeth'sreasoning, I now press my seams open instead of to one side, and my points are looking much better, my seams are lying flatter and are less wonky, and my pieces don't shift as much when I'm running them through the machine. Win, win, win! Takes a bit longer to press, but I don't really mind that. Although I might change my tune when the weather gets above 90 degrees real soon.
Kind of a twisting star, very simple construction.
And a more fiddly block, the star within a star within a star. I mostly machine pieced, except for the interior star, which measures 3" across. The center square is one and a half inches. And those triangles that make up the star points are pretty darn tiny, I didn't want them to disappear inside my sewing machine.
Almost finished with the blocks, there are only 4 more. Then comes the real work! I need to sew on 2" strips all the way around each block, then add sashing which will create secondary stars. I'm going to look in my stash for something suitable, and I'm pretty sure I'll be able to find fabric for the peach and pink quilt. But I think I'll be doing some blue batik shopping in the near future. Yay! Any excuse to set foot in a quilt shop.