Dear Daughter…chapter 1

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My beautiful daughter will be leaving home to go to school soon.  I saw this Block of the Month pattern by Sherrie @ rebeccamaedesigns.com and just knew that I had to sign up.  It is a fun, whimsical, “Momma Loves You” quilt that I know will remind my daughter of me as she heads off for new adventures at school.  Here she is.  Isn’t she just beautiful?image

This first chapter was so fun:). I used two methods of applique again.   The first was a type of turned applique . A cute older lady in my quilt class taught me this method years ago.  It works so well for larger pieces.

  1. Trace  the pattern to the non sticky side of a light weight fusible interfacing.
  2. Cut around the shape leaving at least 1/2 an inch around the marking.
  3. Place the shiny side of the interfacing to the right side of the fabric and sew all the way around.  Do not leave an opening for turning.  Clip the seam allowances to 1/4″ and notch the curves.
  4. Cut a clip in the interfacing NOT the outside fabric.
  5. Turn the fabric inside out. Use a stiletto to get the edges smooth.

This piece is now fusible so you can press it in place on your block and it will stay.  Yea!  Now you can stitch it down by hand or machine.  It works great!image

I used the fusible web technique for all of the wording and zig zagged around it.  There was a lot if it and it was very skinny, but didn’t take too long.

I absolutely LOVE how it turned out!   I won’t be able to start chapter 2 until after my vacation next week, but it will be waiting patiently for me:)

 

I hope you have SWEET Memorial Day!

–Tracy:)

 

It’s a “Splendid” Day!

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I have been playing catch up in the Splendid Sampler QAL, but I’m almost there. Yea! Just in time to fall behind again as I am going on vacation next week to Lake Powell lol:)

The 4 blocks I worked on were lessons in technique. I did two applique blocks and two paper piecing blocks.  For the two applique blocks I tried two different techniques.

Applique Blocks

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The first was the very easy, tried and true fusible web technique:image

  1. I traced the pattern  on the fusible web
  2. I ironed it on the wrong side of my fabric.
  3. I cut it out and peeled off the backing paper
  4. I ironed it to my background block
  5. I placed a paper towel behind it  for stabilizer and machine botton hole stitched around it.

Easy easy, but it doesn’t look like that beautiful  hand applique that grandma used to do. But it was fast and very clean looking.

On the next applique block I tried a new method that Nanette @quilting quandary was so generous to share with me. She does AMAZING, museum quality work.  I am sad to say that have a long long way to go, but I gave it a try.image

  1.  Trace the pattern to the back side of the background block.   – I found this to be difficult because fabric is not transparent . A bright window is what I used.  I assume some people have a light box.  Maybe some nice transfer paper would work as well.  I think I might try tracing on a dryer sheet and pinning it to my block and then baste over that.  The dryer sheet could even stay in the quilt.
  2. Hand baste  a piece of fabric that is larger than the section you are sewing to the front of the fabric.  Use the marking on the back as your guide. Trim around the basting.  Isn’t it pretty?  – I probably should have done one piece at a time, but I was so excited.   All of the layered fabric made it a little tricky to get my needle in for the hand sewing.

     

  3. Time to needle turn applique.  I removed a few stitches and started my hand sewing.  I thought I remembered reading somewhere that my thread should match the background color.  Nope, I think I would have liked it to match the applique piece better. Oh well, I’m learning:)
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    You can see the marks where I should have sewn. I should have clipped it so I could have reached the inside point

    I found this part easier than I thought it would be. The basting stitches left holes that were guides to show where I was going.

This technique was definitely slower than the fusible method, but it is the real deal and it ended up looking pretty good. I am probably going to redo the heart with a different fabric so it shows up better.  I can definitely say I learned something with this block.  I am no Nanette to be sure, but hey, we all start somewhere right?

Paper Piecing BlocksimageThe paper piecing blocks should have been a lot easier, but the dress block really tested my edges. The designer, Charise from Charise Creates, had us cut the pattern apart and then sew the fabric to the paper without the seam allowances.  I don’t know why, but this seemed to really make it tricky to get the fabric the right size   I have definitely learned to be more than generous with my fabric when paper piecing.

I am very pleased with how it turned out though. I added a pretty little sash with a blue embroidered flower and French knot buttons in the bodice.  Wouldn’t it be fun to have a dress like this to wearimage

The Scrappy Happy Heart block was a breeze after this dress block.  I really do like paper piecing.   The points come out so sharp and crisp.image

I know my colors look a little odd, but I think they are going to all work together in the end.

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Have a super SWEET day!!

–Tracy:)

 

Piano Key Border Tutorial- Navajo Code Talkers Quilt

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This quilt just screamed for a beautiful piano key border.  All of the extra strips looked so pretty and seemed like they wanted to be a part of this quilt as well.  The thing about a piano key border is that it definitely looks best with a pretty mitered corner.  It isnt hard, but there are a few tricks to it.  Here is the way that I made this beautiful Piano Key Border:

  1.  Decide on the width of the border.   You can choose this based upon some of your shorter strip scraps so you waste less fabric.   I decided to cut all of my fabric strips to 5″ in length.
  2. Cut all of the left over or newly cut strips to your desired size.
  3. Once all of the fabrics are cut, then sew them together.  You can chain them 2×2, then 4×4, then 8×8 cutting them apart each time and starting the chaining process again.  Your piano keys will get longer and longer as you go.  Sew 4 lengths that are about 16″ longer than the side you are going to attach it to

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    Here is my handy “Cutting Gizmo” that I use for cutting my chain piecing. It works great! 
  4. Press your strips nice and flat as you go.
  5. Sew a stay stitch seam a little less than a 1/4″ from each side to keep the seams from openingimage
  6.  Leaving about an 8″ tail above  and below the quilt, sew the piano border to the quilt.  Start sewing about 3″ down and leave about 3″ at the end.
  7. Turn the quilt over so you can see where you are sewing, and sew the 3″ gap closed. Begin and end at 1/4″ from the quilt edge.
  8. Repeat  for the other sides. Be sure to move the previous border strip out of the way so you do not catch it in your stitching.  It is important to be quite exact on that 1/4″ start and stop at the beginning and ending  of your stitching.
  9. Press the border flat.  With the seams toward the border.
  10. While at the ironing board, straighten the border tails on top of each otherimage
  11. Fold the top strip back on itself at a 45 degree angle.  The edge will match the bottom strip and it will look like a pretty mitered angle.image
  12. Heavily press this fold.  You want a very strong fold mark.  CAREFULLY open the fabric back and pin in place so that it does not move at all.
  13. Gently take your quilt back to the sewing machine and  sew on the fold mark.  Start from the outer edge and end EXACTLY on the 1/4″ stitching line of the quilt.
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    Stitch on fold line
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    End at 1/4″ seam line

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    It should look like this
  14. Open and check to make sure that there are no puckers and it looks the way you like it. Then trim the seam and press it openimage
  15. Repeat this for all of the corners.

There you go!  Now you have a SWEET mitered border:). Yea!

–Tracy

Navajo Code Talkers- Almost Done!

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What I thought was just going to take a quick afternoon to finish up has taken me all week!  My soft, rich fabric came in on Monday and I could hardly wait to cut it into strips and add it to my patiently waiting squares.image

I sewed, pressed and then sewed some more.  Each of these squares ended up being  15 1/4″ square.  Odd sized I know, but that was it.  image

I made 36 of them.  This quilt will be a king size cover that is going to look great in my sons old room that will now be a guest room.  Should I make a sign to place on it that says, “Please don’t sit on this amazing yet fragile quilt”?  There are so many people out there that just don’t know quilt etiquette:)

Here they are all lined up and ready for sewing togetherimage

I moved a few around to get the colors the way I liked them and even replaced a strip or two with different colored fabric to get it just the way I liked it, but this is roughly how it looks.   Isn’t it great?!  I tell you what, finding a piece of floor large enough to preview a quilt this size is no easy task! Lol:)

I like to work row by row, block by block when assembling my quilts.  I don’t chain assemble or even work one half and then the other.   I find it too easy to get lost. I carefully lay one row of blocks on top of each other and mark the edge of the first block  with a clover  clip that I leave there until all of the rows have been sashed and sewn together.

I am so excited to see this come together:)   Now all I have left is a piano key border that I will finish tomorrow.  Yea!!

I hope you have a SWEET day!  –Tracy

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A Late Mothers Day…thats okay right?

I know that Mothers day was a week and a day ago, but I made such sweet things for the Mothers in my life that I just HAD to show them off. Even if it is late. 🙂

My first gift is a little sad. One of my friend’s Mom passed away a few weeks ago. I was so lost about what to give a grieving friend, especially when I was hurting from losing someone that had shaped my life in my younger years.

I remembered hearing someone say that she had been given a handkerchief  when her husband passed away, and I felt like that would be a thoughtful gift for my friend. Forget Me Nots were, of course, one of the first flowers that came to my mind.

This was the first time in over 10 years that I have embroidered anything. It was such a healing process. With every stitch I thought of the love I have for my friend and the memories of her and her mother.

 

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My next gift was for my best friend in the world. We had babies around the same time and it has been a blessing to have someone to talk to and share advice, frustrations, confusions, and joys. (Of course, sometimes we just vent).

I added a boarder to these adorable flour towels that I got at Target for $4!  I copied a Pinterest photo, and had to do a little guess work to make this happen. I made a Blanket Stitch around the border of the towel. Then using my size F hook, I made a double crochet four times in one of the blanket stitches, and a single crochet in the next stitch. I made the whole pattern that way. It was very easy, and it turned out very cute!

 

The last gift was a joint-effort. My son and I made them for my sweet Mom and my amazing Mother in law.

Michaels was having a sale on canvas; buy 3 for the price of 1! That is why this whole craft even came to be. I bought painters tape, 4 different colors of paint, paint brushes, and the canvas. I went home with my little cutie and I taped out the word LOVE (as you see). I put different dots of different colored paint all over the canvas and let my  little artist go to town. At first he used the brushes, but by the end he decided that walking on the canvases was more exciting. It turned out to be really fun, and hopefully it made the sweet grandmas feel a lot of love from my little boy and me.

Sweetly yours,

 

Tassy

Village Quilt- Cutting and More Cutting

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It was a perfect day to get back to my beautiful Village Quilt.  I took out the gorgeous 5″ squares and just sat and looked at them for a moment or two.  Yes, I absolutely adore this color scheme!  If you remember from my last post, I used the Bread n’ Butter fabric line and added quite a bit from my stash to get this big block of squares.

The next step was to separate the squares into three piles. The pattern gives nice instructions and tells the amount for each pile.  Then you  cut, cut, and cut some more.

I sub cut each stack into different sizes.  There are two sides for the house. One roof, one door, one house front square, a few chimney pieces and two background triangles.image

Oh, how I just love the look of neatly stacked piles of fabric ready to take to my sewing machine!

After  all of this wonderful cutting and preparing for the house construction, I had two stacks of extra triangles that I am going to make into a “freebie” quilt.  I think I will call it “Out on the Town”.  SWEET!!   –Tracy

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Extra triangles for a FREEBIE quilt!

DIY Dream Catchers

 

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Hello!  — when my daughter-in-law shared the idea of having dream catchers at her wedding, I was excited to see what she came up with. Well, she had a cute picture from Pinterest but that was about all.   She tried to buy already finished dream catchers, but to get them larger than 4″ in diameter was too pricey so..Momma Pursley was called to the rescue and I was happy to help out.

I bought the 4″ ones and then picked up my yarn and needle and crocheted some 8″  doilies.  They were so easy and fun! image I attached them to the hoops. Then my beautiful daughter, Tassy, put them together adding the pretty  lace and feathers making this fantastic arrangement! (She even got inspired and crocheted a few of the smaller ones herself!)image

If you know how to crochet at all, these really are not hard to make. Here is what you do:

  1.  Gather different sized embroidery hoops.  Mine ranged from 10-12″ in diameter.  Tassy used a 6″ one.
  2. Find a doily pattern that you like.  There are tons of free patterns online.  There were so many that I used a different pattern for each dream catcher, but you could make them all the same if you wanted to whip them out quickly. –another easy way is to buy them already made. They are really affordable on eBay and Amazon.
  3. The finished doily should be about 2″ smaller than the hoop you are using  because you want it to be tight when you attach it.
  4. cut a 4″ piece of thread and slip it around a point of the doily and then tie it to the hoop.  Repeat this on an opposite point all around the doily until it is tied all the way to the hoop.  There will be strings hanging out all around.
  5. Cut an arms length or 30″ or so piece of yarn to start wrapping the hoop with.  Lay about 3″ on the hoop with the end facing left if you are right handed.  Now start wrapping counter clockwise around the hoop covering all of the hanging threads and beginning yarn piece as you go.  It goes rather quickly and cleans up so pretty.  Cut more yarn as needed and repeat covering the ending and beginning threads as you go until the whole hoop is covered.
  6. At the end, leave a 6-8″ length of yarn to thread into a large eyed needle and sew  back under the previous stitches.  It should be very tight.
  7. Now all you have to do is tie them all together in a design that you like and add pretty ribbons and feathers to the bottom!

Yea!!   It turns out BEAUTIFUL!!image

 

 

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Good Luck and SWEET dreamzzzzz!

–Tracy:)

Stop and Smell the Roses-A Nature’s Walk Splendid Sampler Block

imageWoo hoo! I’m finished with my Nature’s walk. I really think this one should be called “slow down and smell the roses”. It took a few slow stitching nights, but it was a joy to watch it “bloom” on my fabric. I tried some new techniques (really they are all new techniques to me because I have not embroidered before this sampler journey) I know I would not have appreciated the beauty of it if I would have tried to just quickly stitch around the lines or tried a “quicker” technique just to “finish” it so I could move on to the next block. Isn’t that how life is? So often we are so busy trying to get to the next phase of our day or life that we don’t stop and enjoy the journey.

I really do just LOVE how it turned out!  This is such a fun project:). I hope your day is SWEET!

–Tracy:)image

 

 

Navajo Code Talkers

A friend and I have been working on this unique quilt for a few months.   She saw it made up in a quilt store in Utah and just had to have it.  She called me and asked me to make one with her, so of course I did:). I love quilting along with friends.  I guess that is why I like Internet quilt alongs so well, but a real life QAL is the BEST!

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We have pieced all of the fun center strip sections,  I would like to say that the instructions were clear and easy, but quite a few of the blocks were incorrect, and many were difficult to understand. Luckily, I am not a beginning quilter so I just used the piecing technique that I like best and went on ahead.  It is frustrating though when the pattern is confusing.

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I am really enjoying adding the strips and watching these blocks grow bigger, but  bummer, I don’t  have enough fabric!  It’s my own fault though.  I decided that making two of each block  was easier to do now instead of later when I might want it bigger. (Ugh, I do that quite often with quilts I like).  I added extra fabric from my stash, but now  that I am at the end, I realize I need more.   So this quilt will have to wait until my order of new fabric comes in. Lol!

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I just love how these ironed Code Talker strips are turning out!

 

Oh well. Life is SWEET and I will finish this quilt when the fabric comes in next week:)

–Tracy

 

Stripping Cloth Diapers

I wanted my first blog post to be fun and sweet. Stripping my Toot Sweets cloth diapers was the obvious choice.

To strip a cloth diaper is to deep clean it in a way that removes the smell of ammonia. It is impossible to have a pleasant experience when you don’t strip your cloth diapers. Worse, if you don’t strip your cloth diapers, you run the risk of your child getting a rash or an infection.

I have been cloth-diapering since Quintin, my son, was 1 month old. My mother has spoiled me by outfitting my child with 30+ diapers. They all look adorable and work amazingly! But even the best cloth diapers will inevitably begin to smell like an amonia bomb. I tried so many different methods, mainly bleach and dawn dish soap which only seemed to work for a week and then would start to burn my poor little boys bottom! I HAD to figure something out. So after lots of late night searches I came across this website:

Cloth Diapers Stink? Could Be Ammonia!

Stefanie (aka The Monarch Mommy) is amazing. She has done a wonderful job of explaining ammonia buildup, so I won’t. But please, please, please check out her blog when you have finished here; it is worth the read. I want to show you my routine.

Here we go!

 

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I use my canning pot and fill it about 3/4ths of the way full. Then I set the stove to the hottest setting and add RLR first. I have only been able to find it on amazon . I bought a 10 pack for about $12. I use the whole package.

 

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Then I add a tablespoon of cloth diaper detergent. I made my own detergent. I’m not crazy about it though so I will let you know when I find a detergent that I do love.
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Now I just stick my already cleaned inserts in the pot. I don’t want to melt the buttons on the covers so I leave the covers in the washing machine sitting in the hot water.

 

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After that, I wait for the water to bubble and the inserts get puffy and bubbly. NOTE: If you haven’t noticed, I made sure to have the clock show in most of the shots so you can get my exact timing and how hot the water is.
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After about 10 minutes in the boiling water, I put both the inserts and the covers in the washing machine. I pour the boiling water in the washing machine and let that sit for another 10 minutes.

 

 

Then I run the diapers through one wash cycle and then dry them the way that works best for you. I usually let the covers air dry in the sun and put the inserts through the dryer so they are nice and fluffy for this little cutie to run and play in!

And that’s it. Please let me know if this worked for you!

xoxo

-Tassy