Thursday, October 31, 2019

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!  This year, Fire Monkey wanted to be Catboy from PJ Masks.  My philosophy on Halloween costumes is to start with a pre-made base.  In this case, I chose a hooded sweatshirt.  My hope is that he can wear it whenever he wants, not just for Halloween.

I found the Catboy symbol online, enlarged it, printed, then cut it out and used it as a template for painting.  I used four coats of craft paint mixed with textile medium to paint it on. Adding the ears to the hood was surprisingly easy--I found this great tutorial and did it one weekend morning while my husband made pancakes--it was that fast!

The stripes on the pants and sleeves were the hardest part because I had to get into the sleeve or pantleg to sew.  Yes, the pants and sweatshirt aren't the same blue but I don't think that actually matter.  I was worried about the tail but am really pleased with how it turned out.

The mask was probably the most fun.  I found this great Bernina tutorial and used their template but not their method.  (Their tutorial makes a reversible mask. I didn't need mine to be that fancy; I don't expect him to wear it for more than 5 minutes.) The mask is made of fleece.  I did one layer of fleece with one layer of fusible interfacing on the back.  Then I satin stitched around the lines for the eye holes.  Once I finished the stitching I cut out the inside.  This should finish it enough that it won't fall apart since it's fleece and not cotton.

And then it was time for the my most ingenious discovery--pre-made bias binding makes perfect mask straps!!!  The tutorial has you sew strips into tubes and turn them inside out--no thanks!  I stitched the fold in the binding closed, then sewed it to both sides of the mask.  I cut the strip in half and measured against Fire Monkey's head to know where to put the velcro.

My super fabulous sister-in-law wraps presents with bias binding instead of ribbon. When I commented on how much I loved this, she told me I was the first person who actually knew what it was! She says she can get bias binding packages for 5 cents each at her thrift stores.  This was the binding that wrapped Fire Monkey's birthday present earlier this month--is that not a perfect color match?!? 

So here is Catboy, ready to trick-or-treat and hoping the expected storm is not as bad as anticipated.  Creating Fire Monkey's costume was #4 on my Q4 list of goals for the Finish Along. 

Time to be a Hero!

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Come Sail Away With Me

My Bee Inspired online bee went in a different direction this year.  One of our projects was optional charity blocks--hosts picked a block, then whoever wanted to contribute sent one or more blocks by a deadline.  I hosted the first quilt and picked a fairly simple sailboat block.  I got many boats back, including from some folks not originally in the Bee Inspired Bee.  I got so many blocks I decided to make four quilts! I took the first three to a local park with a pond for an on-location photo shoot.

I have three of the four quilts finished.  As I was piecing tops, I decided to do a few smaller tops.  These quilts will go to the local children's hospital and I know that they can use a variety of sizes.  The four-boat quilts measure about 28" square.  All three of these are backed with fleece.

I used different sashing fabric for each.  The larger quilt has  bubble patterned that was donated to Project Linus when our chapter was still in existence.  I thought the bubbles would look great as water.

This one is a cloud patterned fabric I pulled out of a scrap bin at a quilt show last spring.  I knew I would do something fun with it. I like the idea of sailing among happy clouds.

And this one is Kona Emerald, left from my Postage Plus quilt.   All of these were quilted with a wavy line stitch to simulate waves. 

I chose finishing the boat quilts as my One Monthly Goal with Patty of Elm Street quilts. Thing is, at the time I was planning just two quilts; I didn't decide to break them into four until later.  So I don't know if I missed the mark with these or overshot!  I'll let Patty decide.  Quilt number 4 is partially assembled at the moment and will have 9 boats. 

October OMG FINISH link-up is open!

These quilts are projects #13, 14, & 15 on my Q4 list of goals for the Finish Along and is on my list of projects needed for my PhD (Projects Half Done) with Quilting Gail.  I'm also linking up with Tish of Tish in Wonderland for her UFO party and will use this as a completed UFO for the UFO & WIP challenge hosted by Julie of The Crafty Quilter.  

Monday, October 28, 2019

Orion the Owl

At some point over the summer, Island Batik Ambassadors were asked for volunteers to make a stuffed toy from a Funky Friends Factory pattern in upcoming Island Batik fabrics to be used as a sample for market.  I volunteered as quickly as I could!  I was assigned Ollie the Laid Back Owl.  I can't show you the one with the not-yet-released fabrics, but I did make a test owl. Meet Orion!

The turquoise face and weeks and the copper feet are both left from the Tropical Stars quilt and the body fabric is from the Flea Market line that I used in both Modern Turtle Race and All Aboard the Accuquilt Express.  This was my first time using safety eyes and they were a snap to use.  (Pun intended!  Because they kind of snap together!)

Orion is a great size and as you can see, very huggable!  While I made the test owl mostly to get comfortable with the pattern, I also knew that if Fire Monkey knew I was making a stuffed toy it would be difficult to pry it away from him.  He was so excited while I was making Orion and would come to check each morning to see if I had finished the night before.  These two are definitely pals!  In fact, we just got back from a family vacation to Atlanta and Orion had the coveted position of being the one of the 2 stuffed toys selected to come along. 

I have made stuffed toys before, mostly from pre-printed panels.  I've always been frustrated and sworn off making other toys. Not so with this guy! The pattern is very detailed and there is a link to her website with step-by-step photos of making the toy so you can really see what you are supposed to do.  The feet on Orion were a bit fiddly but overall not difficult.  I also really like the finished size.  I know there will be more Funky Friends in my future! (Just don't tell Fire Monkey or I will have to make a whole menagerie!)

Apply To Become a 2020 Island Batik Brand Ambassador Today!

If you love Island Batik's fabrics as much as I do, you might be interested in applying for their ambassador program.  Applications are currently being accepted to for ambassadors in 2020.  Here is the announcement on the Island Batik blog and you can find the application itself here.  Applications are due November 4th. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Hexi Snowmen

October's Island Batik Ambassador challenge is "Top It Off," a seasonal table runner or table topper.  My family doesn't really decorate the table but we do hang seasonal small quilts on the front door.  I've been wanting a winter quilt and a Thanksgiving quilt, so I picked out a pattern for each and asked my son (age 6) which I should make.  His reply?  "Both!"  Well, eventually, yes, but which one first?

Snowmen!  The pattern is a tutorial by fellow Island Batik Ambassador Vicki of Vicki's Craft's & Quilting and can be found here.  Though I will use it on the door, I took a few pictures of it on my kitchen table so you can see it makes a lovely table topper. The blues in the quilt even match my dishes!

The center background fabric is Dot in Sky and the outer fabric is Dot in French Blue, both from the blenders collection.   The red is leftover from my Quilt of Valor made from the Freedom line.  The snowflake in the middle is Bluebird from the basics collection.  The orange noses came from one of my stash builder strips and both the white of the snowmen heads and the black for the eyes are Island Batik's solids.  I absolutely love how the dot fabrics look like falling snow!  Perfect for this project!

I made a few changes to Vicki's original design.  She uses three smaller snowflakes scattered around.  I wanted a bigger snowflake and I liked the idea of something in the center.  I used a snowflake from the Winter Wonderland pattern by Henry Glass & Co and enlarged it to get size I wanted. (There were three different snowflakes in that pattern and I let my son pick which one to use.)  She also uses buttons for the eyes and I wasn't sure I had 6 buttons that would work.  My accuquilt train die has two different sized circles and I used the smaller of the two.  I love using those circles as cheater eyes because I have a terrible time cutting out smooth circles.

I started to do the blanket stitch around the snowmen with white thread but decided it needed a little contrast, so I took it out and started again with Aurifil 2710, a lovely light blue.  I quilted a spiral with 1" intervals using the same thread and I think it looks a bit like snow swirling around.  The batting is Hobbs Bleached 80/20.  I used Flexifuse for the snowflake.  This was my first time using Flexifuse and it is thinner and less stiff than other fusibles I've used.  This was also my first time binding a quilt with angles that were not 90 degrees.  I found a youtube video that walked me through the process.

The materials used in this quilt were provided to me by Island Batik., Accuquilt, Aurifil, and Hobbs.

I'm really pleased with this fun little quilt!  It's rare for us to get snow before January here but I look forward to hanging this on the door the second a whisper of snow is in the forecast.  And in the meantime, I can keep it on the table, as the challenge intended.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Q4 Goals

How is it Quarter 4 already?!?  I love participating in the globally hosted Finish Along The motivation really helps!  As always, my list has more than I can finish because I never know what I'll be in the mood to work on. 

General Projects and Gifts

1. I Spy quilt for our bed
My bed is the only one in the house that doesn't have a quilt I made on it!  I'm making an I Spy quilt for our bed--it will be huge!  Many rows are pieced.  This one keeps getting put on the back burner 

2. Place mats for Dad

This will be a Christmas gift, if I can get them finished.  When I visited my dad earlier this year, the place mats he's using are in terrible shape.  He agreed that if I made him new ones, he's throw out the old ones.  I plan to use scraps of Kona solids in blues, greens, and browns. 

3.  Extra for Miren

I finished a baby quilt earlier this year that still needs a companion gift for Big Sister.  I'm still waiting to hear from her parents what Miren, age 3, is particularly fond of, so this one is undefined so far.  It will likely be either a pillowcase or a small pillow.

4. Halloween Costume for Fire Monkey
My son wants to be Cat Boy from PJ Masks for Halloween. I'm going the easy route with a hooded sweatshirt that I will embellish, and Bernina recently had a fun tutorial for a mask that I think will work well for the costume.  I'm using leftover bits of fleece for the embellishments. 

5. Snowman Table Topper (October Island Batik challenge)
My October challenge for Island Batik is to make a holiday table topper or table runner.  I've got my snowman table topper almost done--I think it's my first finished project that isn't square or rectangular!

6. December 3-D challenge quilt
The December theme for the Island Batik Ambassador challenge is 3D.  I have a plan for a surface design element and have picked out fabrics and am really excited about making this one!

Pillow Menagerie
I am slowly making us a menagerie of animal throw pillows four our couch, as I got rid of the big cushions that came with the couch because they were so big it was annoying.  The following are pillows I have patterns and fabric for, and I've spent time getting the pattern pieces enlarged and color coded.

7. Lion--pattern is from the zoo animals collection by Kristy @ Quiet Play

8. Giraffe--pattern is from the zoo animals collection by Kristy @ Quiet Play
Donation Quilts

9. Snowmen
I liked the Snowman block by Sherry of Powered by Quilting so much that I'm doing a whole quilt of snowmen!  I've made 5 blocks and I want to make 4 more and then have fun with different embellishments.

10. Patriotic Stars, part 2
These were my bee blocks from April 2018.  Most of them were turned into a door decoration, but I still have a few blocks left to turn into a donation quilt.

11. Blue Forest Animals
This was a fabric donated to my Project Linus chapter that I really liked.  I have the blue print cut into 10" squares, plus 2 other fabrics and a plan.

12. Elizabeth
This is a fat quarter quilt that is mostly cut and partially sewn.

13, 14, 15, & 16. Sailboats
In Bee Inspired, I asked for simple and fun sailboat blocks for a charity quilt.  I received enough to make two quilts.  I have now determined this will be FOUR quilts!  Ahoy, Matey!

17. Two by Two
This was a leaders and enders project earlier in the year that is now in rows and ready to be assembled. 

18. Magical Forest
I asked for tree blocks from Stash Bee back in 2017 and still haven't put the blocks together.

19. I Spy Scrap Quilt
This is my current leaders and enders project, made with 3 1/2" squares of I Spy scraps. 

So there's my list!  I know I won't get all of these done, and I'm okay with that.