I finished up a couple of veterans quilts yesterday and saw that I had about 4" of batting and backing on one side of one quilt and decided that I would do some more thread trees.
I started with a stack of 4" x 6" pieces of white fabric. That's the size of a postcard so I knew if I kept my tree inside that space that I'd have the right size tree. I sketched a tree shape on the fabric but you will see that I didn't really follow that at all.
I liked the colors of this cone of thread and it's also about to run out so this is what I'm going to use until the cone is empty.
Thread sketch a wonky tree shape.
Start filling in and pretty much ignore the stitched outline.
Keep piling on the thread until a tier is finished. Move to the next tier and stitch some more. It's very meditative to do this.
Don't worry about the wayward lines. They will get cut away.
What a good use of the extra backing and batting. I feel so smugly clever.
And economical for using up 3 bobbins! The backs of these trees are pretty ugly but no one will see them.
Oh boy, do I like these! I have a head start on the 2018 Christmas cards.
With that I'm going to take a few days off the blog for Christmas. I'll be back Wednesday or Thursday of next week.
Thanks to a lot of football this weekend and last night, I can finally declare the ornament-making era over! This one is called Midnight Sun and, honestly, it was one of the most difficult. By difficult I meant that there was way too much gluing and too little pinning or thread work. This kit is still for sale if you want to make one for yourself!
Before you buy one just know that this hanger will drive you nuts. It is pretty, though!
Lots and lots of bling on this one!
I started making these in 1992 and Midnight Sun is #123. I'll put up the trees this weekend to display them and will share lots of photos.
I was very excited to start clearing this hobby away. I have worked on every one of the 123 ornament on this tray. It was really convenient. The very old Tupperware container was perfect for sorting beads and trims for each kit. That went in the garbage first! The tray is a great lap work surface so I'll keep it. Everything else was returned to it's proper spot in the sewing room.
I kept that tray in a drawer in the TV room so it was easy to get out, work for a couple of hours and then put away. As I was cleaning out the drawer I found these ornaments. I totally forgot that I used to make these with leftover beads from the kits. I don't even remember how these were made but my friend Google helped me find kits of you are interested. I'm sure that you could find free instructions with a few minutes of searching. Now I have to find a home for these and I get to fill an empty drawer!
The second of my 3 Cracker Box Kits is done! This one is called Fascination (although on their website it's spelled Facination. This one wasn't nearly the pain that the last one was so it came together faster.
Just because I say it wasn't as complicated as Discovery doesn't mean that this should be your first kit. It shouldn't! It took 2 hours of measuring and inserting, removing and relocating bast pins before the first thing was stuck to the ball. Even with that, mine is no where near perfect.
Perfection is not needed though when there are 120 other ornaments on display and with lights reflecting all of the sparkle. This one is really, really sparkly!
Only one more to make!
I added 3 ornament kits to my UFO list for 2017 because I really want to get these things done and out of the way. I started making them around 1990 and, frankly, I'm over them. But these kits are expensive and I didn't want to toss them out. Besides I have over 120 ornaments made and I do still like displaying them.
This kit, Discovery, has been sitting partially done for at least a year. I love how it turned out but it's probably one of my least favorite to put together. This one is a whole lot of gluing smooth things to other smooth things so I know that this one will start falling apart before any other ornaments. Most of the ornaments are put together mostly with pins and dangly things done with thread. I think that makes them sturdier.
This is the first ornament kit where the hanger is 100% glued together. That doesn't bode well for its longevity.
Complaining aside, this thing is going to sparkle like crazy on the tree.
I'm sure someone is going to ask about the time in this. There was a time when I did track time and the easiest ornaments had about 12 hours in them and I've had a few that have up to 60 hours. I don't track time anymore but I'd guess this one came in somewhere around 25 hours.
If you think you might want to make this, I'm sorry, you can't. This kit has been retired and is no longer available.
Well, this is incongruous with anything I've been doing here on the blog lately but it was just another project hanging around the sewing room that needed to be cleaned up. I almost put it in a pile but, for once, decided that the best action would be to take a couple of hours and finish it.
This project started with 2 rolls of grosgrain ribbon. The Longarm Network, for some reason, has these rolls of grosgrain ribbon on the store for $10 each. That's such a bargain that I had to get some! They don't have them on the website but if you want some I'm sure you can contact them through the link and get yourself some. My first thought was to weave then in some way.
Then a week or so later someone brought some rolls of decorator weight fabric to the quilt club meeting. One was a roll of natural denim. A project idea was born!
I think I cut the denim to about 13" x 18" allowing for a 1/2" hem on all sides. I drew some guidelines for ribbon placement. There are 3 guidelines 1 1/2" from the bottom and right edges and 1 1/2" apart for the other 2. Then I pinned the ribbons aligning on those marked lines.
The ribbons are woven in the corner. I pinned everything in place and then topstitched using a smoke monofilament thread with regular thread in the bobbin.
The nice thing about this denim is that it's heavy enough that I don't need to make a quilt from these. I just had to turn under the edges and finish it off with my serger. If I didn't have a serger I'd zigzag around the raw edge and then turn the hem back and topstitch it in place.
A couple of hours of work and, boom!, they are done. I did 3 with red in the middle and 3 with blue in the middle. One note about the ribbon. It does shrink when washed so I pre-shrunk the ribbon before I cut it. I did that by cutting a long length, soaking it in hot water and then hanging it to air dry.
I'm ready for next summer's patriotic holidays!
If you have been following my blog longer than 3 years you might remember that I sometimes make these beaded Christmas ornaments. They are from Cracker Box Kits and I made the first one in 1992. How do I know that?
Meticulous record keeping, of course!
Like many hobbies, this one has run it's course. I've made about 120 of them and I'm over it but I have 3 kits left. These kits are expensive so I will finish them.
That's why I've added them to my UFO list. They aren't quilts but they are unfinished projects that are hanging over my head and I'm determined to get them done this year.
This is how the instructions look. They are very detailed and there's a very detailed drawing of the finished ornament.
I also have the color photo from the catalog for reference. The one I'm working on now is called Discovery and I made some good progress this weekend.
I'm splitting my football watching activities between these and my applique. If all goes well I'll finish the applique and the 3 ornament kits before the Super Bowl.
Here are all of the completed ones stored. They store best hanging up. My college roommate tells me that if the FBI ever needs information to profile me she will just show them this closet.
A month or so ago I was at Virginia Longarm and noticed that they had these rolls of grosgrain ribbon for sale. Only $10 for a whole roll! I immediately knew what I wanted to make with them and finally got started this week.
Woven placemats of course! I've only gotten one prototype made so far but I should be back next week with all of the detail of how I made them.
Tomorrow I'm teaching at Virginia Longarm and the rest of the weekend is to be dedicated to quilting the Paula quilts.
I've been back from vacation a week and I'm still no quite back into my groove. To get myself focused again I decided to work on this set of 4 placemats. I had purposely left these set up and ready to work on before I left so that they might be easy to jump on when I returned. Surprisingly, that approach might have actually worked.
This project started with these triangles saved from the Rainbow's End Quilt. These are the cut-offs from the snowball block corners. I really should have tossed them out but I'm glad I didn't.
For my placemats I use up some ugly fabric for the backing and I use old flannel sheets for the batting. The pale blue fabric is one that I dyed for another project. It didn't work for that one but it's perfect for these placemats.
Once I made some placemats and did some very dense quilting. They look great but it took seemingly forever.
I don't do that anymore.
For these placemats I first did angled quilting following the top line of the triangles. Then I did vertical straight lines about 1 1/4" apart in the rest of the space.
I had dark teal and a red-purple fabrics in my stash so I went to Facebook to see which I should use for the binding. Facebook wisely choose the teal. I even dyed napkins to match.
Now I can be 100% honest in saying that there are absolutely no more scraps left from the Rainbow quilts!
My poor Mom has been through hell lately with her eyes. She had cataract surgery on her right eye in June and she's still recovering. It started with a violent reaction to the steroid eyedrops that were intended to help with healing. She has glaucoma and the steriods completely screwed up the pressure in that eye. The glaucoma specialist has been very diligent trying every option to get it under control. He finally ran out of options and schedule a surgery to install a drain of some sort in her eye. Of course that didn't' go as planned either. The surgery lasted about 2 hours longer than it should because she was bleeding a lot.
All of that is to say that she was with me all of last week and she looked like she had been punched in the face. The first couple of days she was just recovering from the trauma of the surgery but as she started feeling better she was getting antsy for something to do but her vision still wasn't very clear.
But being the devoted daughter that I am I found a couple of projects for her and this is one of them. I've done so much quilting lately that I had a lot of batting and fabric scraps ready to become dog beds.
I didn't want her to have to do anything at all fiddly so I changed up my process in this tutorial ot make tufts instead of channels. Can you see how I marked them?
Here's a closer photo.
Everything for this project is free! Someone is always donating fabric to our quilt club and I pick up decorator pieces from time to time to use for the dog beds.
I rarely use thread in this drawer but it's all heavy weight cotton and it's perfect for the dog beds.
After a couple hours of work she had 3 dog beds made. The sizes of the beds depends solely on the fabric that I have. One of the green ones is smaller because that how wide the fabric was. It's that simple. My friend, Lora, will be happy to have these for Richmond Animal League.
Mom has a pile of batting scraps at home so she's taking the yellow one to fill herself.
Now to get back to quilting and make more scraps!
Yesterday was dyeing day but at the end of the day I had some spare time and decided to use it to restock my personal supply of lotion bars and lip balm. It took me all of 30 minutes to get out the supplies, make both batches and clean everything up. It's that easy.
Lotion bars are great if you have any very dry skin areas. For me, it's my feet. I use a lotion bar every night and sleep with socks on so I don't mess up the sheets. Plain lotion just wasn't enough so I keep a supply of lotion bars in a bag in the fridge and one on my nightstand. It works great.
It couldn't be easier to make.
First find a mold. I use my small soap molds but you could pour all of this into a plastic container and once it sets up just cut it into palm sized bars. Ice cube trays would work great too.
In a microwave safe container (I use a Pyrex measuring cup) mix together equal parts of:
Melt all that in the microwave. If you have Vitamin E on hand you break open some capsules and add some to the melted oils. That's a very messy affair so I usually leave it out.
Pour the liquid in your molds and waif for it to set up. You don't need to store it in the fridge but I find that's a safe place to keep it so I don't confuse it with my soap bars. This amount will last me and my friend, Cheryl, a year.
I primarily make lip balm for my Mom and friend, Becky. I rarely use it but I keep a couple of them around just in case. Making it is just as simple as the lotion bar from the perspective of mixing the oil but you do have to buy the tubes or pots. If you use the tubes you will want one of these tube trays. Where I buy my supplies the tubes are about a quarter a piece and the tops are a dime. Making this is a little messier and the recipe I use has more ingredients but I have them on hand already for my soap and lotion making. Given how cheap lip balm is, I don't think it would be cost effective to just make lip balm because the minimum quantities for the supplies would be way too big. But if you are already making soap you might want to give lip balm and lotion bars a try. Aside from the tubes and beeswax you probably already have everything on hand.
If you are interested there are tons of recipes on the web and the one I use is here.
I'm Vicki Welsh and I've been making things as long as I can remember. I used to be a garment maker but transitioned to quilts about 20 years ago. Currently I'm into fabric dyeing, quilting, Zentangle, fabric postcards, fused glass and mosaic. I document my adventures here.
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