Wednesday, August 24, 2011

W.i.P. Wednesday #13

I have so many things going on right now, and so many deadlines approaching that I feel like I am losing my head! But it will all be ok. ;)

I finally am making some progress for my Modern Swap project.

Dear Partner,

What do you think?! I am kind of pretty excited about it. The bigger squares will be 2"x2" and the smaller 1"x1", so it's pretty small. But it will be fun to put together.

I am over half way finished sewing all my blocks together for my Kaleidoscope Qal. Since I missed the deadline I kind of stopped rushing on it and haven't worked on it since last time I talked about it I think.

Those are the two main things that are on my mind right now.

Otherwise I redid my blog a bit. I still need to clean up my Made It tab and my Tutorials tab and organize those. But otherwise I think it's good to go! Check out the 365 tab, Our Story tab and blank pages. They won't be posted directly on this blog, so those of you who don't care about my family stuff, won't be receiving those updates anymore. And I was a little unsure about swamping this blog with 365 Joy posts. So here we go! :)  I really do like to be organized!!


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Sewing Basics with Diane! {Bindings... and a pinning tip}

My experiences in binding have brought me a long way. My first time (hand binding) was on this quilt. Yikes. It went pretty well, I thought, but now it's coming apart (but I'll blame some of the problem on the fact that I bound it with courdory - what was I thinking?!?! and that the part that is coming apart is where I joined the two ends and it is SO thick right there... and the solution to THAT problem is what I want to focus on in this post.)

**** I have done a lot of machine binding before, and that is another option for binding anything. You can see it on my placemats here or on my picnic blanket here. All you do is simply cut the backing fabric about 1 inch [more or less depending on how thick/wide you want it. I cut it about 1/2 inch wider for the placemats.] or so wider on all sides than the front. Then after quilting it, you fold the extra fabric in half and again, or to however much you want it to overlap the front, and then pin and sew. It's REALLY fast, and I have more detailed instructions of that here. I'll have to post more detailed instructions another time. And that is the end of that for now. ****

My ultimate favorite binding tutorial is here at Crazy Mom Quilts. It is GREAT! and SO easy to follow. My bindings have always turned out great following this tutorial. One KEY point is how she joins her strips of fabric to make a single binding piece. Join them at an angle! That is one problem that I had with my first binding. All my joints are sewn straight across, which makes it WAY to thick in one area. Thick in quilting, I have found, is NOT a good thing.

Then I found this tutorial here by Mama CJT. Can I say that she is amazing! I drool over her work! ;) She has a good tutorial for smaller items that could do with a smaller/single-fold binding (perfect for mug rugs, small wall hangings, coasters, etc.)

Then once upon a time I found a tutorial that I LOVE for how to join the beginning and end of your binding - which eliminates the straight across joint that is in these other two tutorials. But, to my luck, I have not been able to find it since. I don't know if I do it the same way as she (who???) does it, but this works just as good. So with no further delay, here is my little tutorial that you can combine with your favorite binding tricks and secrets and we will all be happy in the end. :)

First sew on your binding (which is cut about, I don't know, 10 inches + longer than it needs to be), starting more in the middle of one of your edges and leaving at least 4+ inches or so of  fabric unsewn. When you get to the other end of your fabric, stop sewing a few (at least 4-5 inches) away from your beginning stitching. Make sure to backstitch at each end.

See how I have extra fabric on each end. By the way, I am doing a single fold binding onto a mug rug here. Everything is done the same way for a double fold binding. 
*** I realized as I was writing this, that there are some differences with a double fold binding. I will add those details (without pictures for now) in stars as I go. ***

Next line up your two fabrics, with one on the inside and one on the outside. Cut the fabric of the inside one on a diagonal close to where your stitching on the other end starts, but not past it.

Next you want to move the top layer and fold the bottom layer up like shown, make sure to fold it at this angle. If you fold it with the top corner down it doesn't cover as well when you fold it over to cover the back. If that doesn't make sense, just trust me. ;)
*** If you are doing a double fold binding, instead of folding it, just cut it at the same angle a little further out, and then tuck the edges to the inside about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch (I may suggest more the 1/2 inch, especially if it's on a quilt or something larger that will receive a lot of love).***

Now line up the two strips nicely and get ready to sew them down.
***Before you sew it down, tuck the inside strip (the piece you didn't tuck the edges under) inside of the outside strip (the piece that you DID tuck the edges under) so that the inside strip is completely inside the outside strip). Hopefully it will make more sense as you are actually doing it and can see what I'm talking about.***

start where you left off and sew through until you reach your first stitching, backstitching on both ends.

When you fold it over it should look like this. See how the outer fabric angles out in the opposite direction of the other end? That ensures a larger overlap of your fabrics. (Do you like how I am trying to sound all professional like I know what I'm talking about?! :) Whether it's completely true or not, it's my theory and I think it sounds good!) :) but to give myself a little bit of confirmation, I did try it the other way first and I didn't like it as much, so I'll keep doing it this way anyway!
***Doing a double fold binding will look the same at this point, but instead of the inside simply being under the outside fabric, it will be inside of it. That way you don't have to worry about seeing the double edges of the outside fabric. Rather, it is on the other side of the fabric and it will still look clean like it does here.***

Now you can go back and trim that corner that you folded up to get rid of some of that extra fabric and lessen the bulk.
***Skip this step***

Flip your mug rug, or quilt, or whatever it is over and fold the binding in half like so.
***Skip this step since you already have a nice folded edge on your binding***

Fold it all the way over and pin it in place


But actually you want your pins to be perpendicular to the edges of whatever you are pinning. It helps it lay a little flatter and makes it easier to remove the pins while sewing. See the difference (do it like the pin on the left):

See... "oops! I pinned it the wrong way and now it's a pain to pull out the pins while I sew!"

"Oh. That's much easier!" "Not to mention that I can sew closer to my pin before pulling it out, which means my fabric is less likely to shift before I get to that point!"

+ The End +

~~~~ I am machine sewing my binding here. If you want to hand sew it, AWESOME! I usually hand stitch my quilts and other larger items that I want a really nice finish on. I also REALLY like the instructions that Crazy Mom Quilts has to hand sew your binding! (See link at the top of this post)
If you want to machine bind it, I like to use a walking foot as it helps to keep all the layers in place and I don't have to worry as much about shifting and bunching. Use the above picture as an example. ~~~~

Here is my binding all done. Look how nice and flat it is where my two ends meet!

And the other side:
Here is one problem with machine binding, the stitching on the other side doesn't always necessarily end up where you want it. So be warned if you are adding a binding that is different than your backing fabric (compared to the method I mentioned at the beginning of this post). If you do it that way, you can't even tell that the stitching may be off!

Happy Binding!!! :)

If you would like to share your binding successes or failures, I'd love for you to share pictures in the flickr group!


Monday, August 15, 2011

Made It: A whole lot of Tissue Cover goodness + Tutorial

These were so much fun to make! They are for each of the girls in my ward that are going up to girls camp, along with the leaders. 17 in all. Some of the fabric was super easy to pick out and I knew they would love it, but other girls were impossible! I was surprised by what a hard time I had guessing what they'd like when I feel like I know them pretty well. I think they were happy with them though. :) And I ABSOLUTELY LOVED seeing their cute smiles as I handed them out and they saw which one was theirs. :) (I'll admit that I like a little reassurance here and there that I've done a good job on something.) :)

Anyway, here's my little photo shoot of them:




And these are kind of weird looking, but I flipped one side out so you can see how the inside fabric coordinates (or doesn't) with the outside fabric. They are also fully reversible, so they can pick whichever fabric they like. :)




And... since these were so lickity split easy to make, and since there are a million different tissue cover patterns on the web already, but mine is a little different than any I've seen, I'll share my little tutorial with you right here right now. :)  So pick out your fabric and get ready to sneeze I mean sew! :)

First pick your fabrics that you want to use. You can also piece some fabrics together for a quilted look.

Cut your fabrics so they are 7.5 inches by 6.5 inches.

Then lay your fabrics Right Sides (RS) together.

Next, pin your fabrics in the corners and along the sides to help keep the fabrics aligned correctly.
(don't mind that this is different fabric. I forgot to take these shots with the other set.)

Sew the edges with 1/4 inch Seam Allowance (SA)

Leave about a 1-2 inch opening on one of the long sides. I like to leave it more in the middle than what is shown in this picture - then the opening is on the back rather than the flaps and seems to be easier to sew closed, as well as looks neater.

TRIM YOUR CORNERS (click on link for more detail on this step)

Turn RS out.
This is going to be the fabric that I want on the outside of my tissue cover.

Next fold it in half so the inside fabric is on the outside:

Place a pin in each end where the crease is so you know where the center of your fabric is.
Then unfold it and fold one edge over so it is 1/4 inch past the center line (where you pinned).

Now fold the other edge over so it is 1/4 inch past the pin on the other side. Your folds will now overlap each other by 1/2 inch.

Place a couple pins in each end to hold everything in place.

Both ends should be pinned the same.

Now sew along each end, sewing back and forth a couple of times where the fabric overlaps to help reinforce that part. I like a straight stitch the best.
sorry I didn't do the best job keeping my fabrics lined up on this one. But you get the idea.

You can also sew with the decorative stitch since the cover is reversible, but I would suggest using a contrasting thread color so it shows up better than this does:
it is fun though!

Now you can turn it RS out (or keep it on which ever side you want)
and you're finished!! :)

Super easy and ready for some tissues!

as well as ready to be thrown in your purse, gym bag, backpack, whatever, to keep your tissues safe and ready to use! Yay! No more ripped up tissue mess in the bottom of your bag!

I've made a whole lot of different versions of tissue holders in the past year or so, even making up my own patterns, but I think I like this one the best. It's fast and easy, and I LOVE the overlap of the flaps on the front. Some of them that I've made I feel like the tissues are going to fall out once they are in them, but this keeps everything neat and tidy without adding extra steps of adding tabs or velcro or whatever else to keep it closed. :)

Some other variations or details that would be nice to add:
  • before you fold the flaps over, do some simple stitching along each of the short ends to add a finished look to the edges. I think straight stitches are my favorite, but any stitch would be cute (or double lines of stitches. You can see what I mean on this inside pocket of this pouch I made - look at where the stitches go through the bird or trees to see it best.)
  • like I said, you can sew multiple fabrics together, make hexies, or other patchwork for your pieces of fabric.
  • you could quilt it before folding the flaps over to add some design to it
  • add embelishments like ricrac or ribbon or something.
the possibilites are endless!
Have fun!

and if you make some I'd love for you to share them in the flickr group!


Saturday, August 13, 2011

365 Moments of Joy

I've finally found it. My 365 Days-of-Something! Inspired by this post, and a small dose of Life's-been-a-drag-and-I-need-something-more, I am starting my 365 Moments of Joy.

365 Moments of Joy

Do you remember that movie Julie & Julia? It was pretty good, so if you haven't seen it I recommend it. Well, after that came out it seemed that everyone had a 365-Days-of-Something, photography, cooking, blogging, sewing, whatever. I liked the idea of it, but didn't really have anything that I wanted to do, or commit to, for 365 days in a row. Well, finally having enough of the baby blues, I'm ready for some daily doses of happiness. :)

I'm really not going to expect a lot from it, or expect myself to put a lot into it, just a little update of a daily something that brings me joy. :) Maybe it will just be a picture from my camera phone and that's it, perhaps a story, or joke, or maybe something long and dreadfully boring. ;) I don't know. I'm sure that as every day is different, there will be something that brings me joy every day. :)

I think it will be fun. And in the end, I think it will give me a reason to take a break from all the stress of being an overly tired and demanded mom and just enjoy the moment. :) No other expectations or competitions involved - I'm not going to worry about perfect photos, how beautiful I look in the picture, my double chin that likes to show up now and then, etc.(though hopefully I'll learn some things along the way as well.)

What do you think?! Do you want to join along? Leave a comment on this post with your blog and I'll add you to a blog roll on my sidebar under my button. :)

Oh, and here's a button if anyone wants to join, you can put this on your blog as well. :)

365 Moments of Joy

I might as well start my first joy-mo now. :) This picture is actually from yesterday, but I posted it today so I'm going to say that it counts. Not to mention that it is the whole inspiration for all of this! :)


You can follow along with all of my posts here.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Swap: For the Love of Solids

Hey Partner!

 I think I've got it! :) Do you like this?:

Kaleidoscopic Kites Front
quilt by Fresh Lemons
pattern found here

I love it and think it would look great in solids. :)

Now to pick a couple of solids and shades and I'll be on my way! :)
(I'm so relieved to have finally found something.... deep sigh of relief!) :)


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

W.i.P. Wednesday #12

Isn't there an old 90's(?) rock song that goes, "Where does the time go?..." Anyway, if not, there should be so I can sing it. Because right now that's how I feel. Ok, maybe it would be my theme song because I never seem to know where the time goes. :)

I have been racing the clock to get stuff finished though! Ok, not really... but I am happy to have a few little things to check of my list this week! :)

I finished all the tissue covers for girls camp! They turned out super cute!! Did I mention last week how hard it was to pick our the fabric for some of the girls?! Because it was! They all left for camp today but won't get theirs until Friday... and I'm so happy to be going up there for at least one night! :) Yippy! :)

Tissue holders
17 total, plus two more that I want to make and then they told me I needed to make one for myself as well. :) I don't know if it's harder to pick out fabric for someone else, or for myself. ;) I guess I can make it to match my new purse (ok, I don't have a new purse yet. But I did finally decide on a pattern to use... I think.) :)

I also finally patched up a backpack that has been sitting on my floor for a few weeks now. It belongs to my hubby's coworker, and it is super nice! I understand why he wanted me to fix it! :) (I wouldn't mind keeping it - it has about a bajillion pockets! My favorite!) So I guess I can mark that off my list. :)

Other than sewing I also finally made up some more birthday cards to use! I love these ones. :) Happy Birthday everyone!

I can't decide if on the bird one, if it should say "Birthday"  or "Bird day" :) I actually have another one that has a bird on it and says "Happy Bird day" I like it. :)

In Progress:
Sunshine wall hanging - the beginning
I am a bit late on this, but I am finally making some headway on my wallhanging for my to blank walls July project. I am totally being scrappy and messy putting this thing together, but it's actually going pretty well for what a sloppy job I'm doing. :) Ok, if it didn't look good I would do a lot better job, but for now it is working and that is good enough for me! :)
Sunshine Wall hanging
I can't wait to get everything on so I can quilt it! I have some great ideas in my head that I think will turn out really cute!

My Pouch for the Pretty {little} Pouch Swap: Dear Partner, I didn't realize that my zipper is WAY too short. So I ordered another one and it's on its way. Your pouch is ready to go once I get it, so if you read this, I'm sorry for the delay. :(  Here are a couple pictures of the fun inside pockets, and a little outer decor: :)
this one is sewn down the middle, so it's really two pockets. The whole bag is a going to be a super big boxy pouch. I think it will be nice to have the added pockets in the middle. I hope I figured everything right so they are in the right place. :)


Just sitting around:
I finally ironed the orange fabric that I'm going to use for the binding on my Lola's Quilt.

I think a LOT about this pile of fabric that is for Mikaela's quilt. I want to at least just get it cut up so I can put all the fabric away! That is going to take a lot of ironing though... blah. ;) my least favorite thing. especially on a hot day.

Mabel's quilt. I'm hoping soon I'll get up the courage to quilt it. I am not sure how I want to quilt it yet, and the back is minky which I'm kind of nervous about. I've heard it's not the easiest to quilt with, so we'll see how that turns out!

Need to get started on:
Yes, I have a few projects that I need to start and finish pretty quick. First, my bee blocks for the Harmony circle of do.Good Stitches. She has a cute inspiration photo. :)
Also, I need to figure out what in the world I am going to make for the Love of Solids swap. My partner is an AMAZING quilter and I am so intimidated to make something for her... I really don't even know where to start. But I think I'm narrowing my ideas down a little. :)

Well, that's should do it for now. Until tomorrow... I mean next week (although I'm sure it will feel like tomorrow when it gets here). :) Happy sewing!