Calendar Swap - September

My sweet friend, Freda, has been organizing a calendar swap with a group of creative friends for a few years.  I didn't participate last year, but decided to jump in again this year.  

My first thought was to use the alcohol ink foil technique to make my September calendars with an Autumn feel.  That did not turn out the way I imagined.  I tried stamping with heat-n-stick powder and foiling.  That didn't work the way I wanted it to either. I thought about throwing money at the problem and buying more colors to try and yupo paper instead of the glossy paper I had.  After adding over $30 to my cart, I decided to try a different tactic. 

I decided to do stripes and florals like the shirt I shared yesterday.  First I looked for watercolored striped paper.  I even went to Hobby Lobby and Michaels looking for navy striped paper, and somewhere in those aisles it dawned on me that I could make my own.  DUH!

It was super easy because I wanted a loose look, not perfectly spaced stripes.  I taped down watercolor paper with painters tape to a board to prevent warping and then used a flat brush to create stripes.

Here is the finished project. 

I forgot to take pictures (or I just can't find them on my phone) of the floral sprays.  I stamped them in several colors (navy, black, and invisible ink) then colored them with watercolor and Zig clean color real brush markers.  Each one is slightly different, but it kept me from getting bored.  Sometimes a little change can keep things interesting.

I made a card for Freda out of the same paper and stamps.  I really like how they turned out and I think I might make more of these watercolor brush papers.  They make a fabulous background and I can customize the colors.


Inspiration Everywhere

Anyone else find inspiration in unusual places?  I've started taking pictures of things I would like to paint, turn into cards or color combos I would like to use in future projects.  Pretty sure both of these were at Hobby Lobby.  

This sign reminds me of color burst.  I love the splatters of paint with the rainbow colors.

Not sure what it is about old trucks with flowers in the bed, but I am drawn to them.  I also like the sentiment.  My husband and I love to take long drives and enjoy just being together.

This was from a trunk show at the South Sound Modern Quilt Guild monthly meeting.  I would love to turn this into a color wheel quilt. 

There is something about about stripes and flowers I am drawn to.  Wouldn't this make a lovely card?  Come back tomorrow to see how I turned this into a special project.

Can't you see this as a card?  Any sentiment in the center, flowers, leaves and berries around the outside.

Another great card design.  Circle in a square.  Sentiment in the center of the circle and flowers on the top left of the circle.  They would also look good on the bottom right. 


Sew Saturday ~ UFO for Michael

Michael is my youngest son.  I started this quilt for him in 2013.  I put it on the back burner to work on his older brother's quilt because I wanted to get it done before Tyler graduated in 2014.  After I finished his I focused on a few charity quilts.  Then it was my grandma's quilt, then a rush to finish my Aunt's quilt before she passed away.  In between I did a few blocks, but poor Michael got the short end.

After Aunt Cathy and grandma died, I pretty much closed up the sewing room.  Poor Mikey.  Thankfully the Sew Powerful Purse project got me back to sewing and Michael's quilt was top priority!  

The quilt consists of mostly x blocks.  I made the quilt in white, gray and black as Michael requested. 

One of my favorite quilting notions is the frixion pen.  It erases with heat.  I marked the center of each block, sewed on the line and when I pressed the seem, the pen mark disappeared.  Gotta love that!

The nice thing is that over 70% of the squares were cut before I put the quilt away. 


Crochet and Kitties

Not sure what it is about fibers, but my cats love them.  They especially love yarn.  This adventure started with Facebook.  I saw a beautifully crocheted Bolero lace jacket. I clicked on the link to buy it and discovered it was a crochet pattern.  :(  I posted the link on Facebook asking if anyone wanted to make one for me.  Nobody jumped on it.  Imagine that.  I tried to forget about it, but Facebook kept putting the ad on my page.  Finally it dawned on me that I might be able to learn how to crochet on youtube, so I started watching crochet videos on youtube and bought some yarn at Hobby Lobby.

This is when I discovered how much my cats like yarn.  Everytime I worked on my blanket, they would be on my lap.  When I put the finished piece over my chair, they suddenly started sleeping on top of my chair.  :)

While working on my first blanket, my husband said he wanted one too, in blue.  So, I got more yarn and started working on one for him.  He is 6'2", so finding a blanket long enough to cover his feet can be a challenge. I don't have a picture of the finished afghans (is that what they're called?), but I have plenty of the cats on me while working on them. 

Postcard for a Stamp Collector

This postcard comes with a story.  My friend, Freda, from Alabama did a calendar swap with our group of online crafty friends.  ***Sidenote- my online crafty friends are some of my BEST friends. This means YOU. ***

This is my second time participating in the calendar swap.  Freda sends everyone their blank calendar pages.  We create our designated month and then send them back to her.  She collects and separates the entire year and sends them back to us.  I try to include a little hostess gift to thank her for all she does to make this swap happen. 

A few months before the swap was due she mentioned going to the post office and them being sold out of the Mr. Rogers stamps.  Since she lives in a different state I thought I would see if any of our local post offices had some.   The search began...

The small post office in my town didn't have one.  Neither did the one in the next town over.  One day I was out driving checking out the new distribution center and decided to keep going on that road to see where it would go.  It led me to a small town with a tiny post office.  I stopped in and asked if they had any Mr. Rogers stamps.  The lady working there was so kind.  She did an internet search and then took down my information and said she would look into it further and see if she could find it for me.

She called me back within 48 hours letting me know that one of her customers had what I was looking for.  Not only did he get me a book of stamps, but he had a printed out packet of all the "Rogers" featured on US Postal stamps.  I was blown away by the thoughtfulness of these two people.  I made this postcard to thank the gentleman that sold me his stamps and the flowers in the background were from my garden for the postal worker.


Masculine Sympathy Cards - Waterolor

More sympathy cards today.  I feel like such a downer.  Can you see why I avoided blogging for so long?  Even the cards I was making were depressing, but it is an honest reflection of the season I was going through.  This card has a slightly more masculine feel to it.   I made it for one of our close friends that had lost his father. 

The tree was watercolored using another Let's Make Art tutorial, scaled down to card size.  I made it into a 5x7 card instead of the typical A2 size.

The painting was layered onto a light tan cardbase once dry and I added a die cut out of navy cardstock on the front with my xyron.  On the inside I stamped some leaves in Versamark ink.  It shows up nicely on the Crumb Cake cardstock.  I stamped the same image on the back flap of the envelope.

For those who are curious, I did a combination of lessons from these 2 kits listed below.  You can find youtube videos on them as well from Sarah Cray at Let's Make Art.


Sew Sunday ~ Grand Central Clue 3 part 1

Update on Clue 3 for the Grand Central Mystery QAL from Sew On The Go.  

This one was fun to start with.  In fact I almost got all 3 weeks done last weekend.  On Sunday before the Superbowl I pulled all the remaining fabrics from my assorted brights and was able to use all different ones from the ones I used for clue #1.  I'm not sure if it will make my finished quilt look more scrappy or too busy, but I love these colors & fabrics so much.  It's fun seeing them being cut down and sewn together again.  My first step was to make all the cut all the pieces into the sizes called for, including half square triangles, then I began sewing strip sets.

I was having a blast sewing strips together and sewing them together again just like I thought the picture showed, until I realized I read the instructions wrong.  If you read yesterday's post, you're not surprised are you?  My personal "learn from my mistakes...twice" lesson last week was certainly to pay more attention to instructions and information, especially for a mystery quilt without videos. <insert seem ripper>

Once that was done and I was headed on the right path, I began zipping through the sewing.  Everything was going at lightening speed and I was impressed with how quickly this step was coming together.

Michelle gives us fabulous tips on her blog as well as in the downloads she makes available.  I couldn't remember how to make the center seem twist open, but using her instructions made it so easy!  Thank you, Michelle!  Even if you aren't following along with this mystery, I encourage you to read her blog posts.  She gives such good information.  She is a good teacher with lots of pictures to help visual learners, like me, understand.

This is the point where I ran into a snag.  I thought I had the ruler I needed, but turns out, I don't.  I have the tucker trimmer and the wing clipper, but what I needed was the Tucker Trimmer and the Large Square Squared ruler from Studio 180 designs.  Ruby Street Quiltworks used to carry all the Studio 180 Designs rulers, but they are sadly out of business.  :(  So, it has been ordered and I will play catch-up when it gets here.  In the meantime, Michelle released clue 4 on Friday, so I have something to work on while I wait for USPS to bring my ruler to me.  If I run out of current projects to work on I can always clean up my sewing room or work on an UFO.  (I can't let that happen though.  LOL)


Sew Saturday ~ The Twist QAL

Last month I mentioned several Quilt A-longs (QAL) I was considering doing.  One of them was The Twist Scrap Dance Mystery from My Carolina Home.  I've been following Carole for years.  She is a cardmaker as well as quiltmaker among many other talents.  She has always been so good about commenting on my blog and responding when I comment on hers. If you are a quilter, cardmaker, homemaker, crafter, etc. I hope you will visit her blog and check out all she shares.

At first I wasn't sure I wanted to do 2 mystery quilts because I had never done one before, but I decided to join hers for a couple of reasons.

1.  I wanted to be a part of what Carole was doing and be able to share it here on my blog
2. It is pre-cut friendly and I could use up some charm packs that have been sitting on the shelf for years.
3. Doing 2 mysteries, put on by 2 different people would give me a better idea of whether or not I might ever want to do a mystery again.  
4. Step 1 is really easy and I was already 1/4 of the way there before I even started. (Technically I thought I was halfway there, but you'll soon find out it was only 1/4.)

Carole gives really good instructions, even though I am terrible at reading instructions.  I have to read every word of a book, but I tend to skim instructions.  The first step to this mystery is to pick your fabric (or just pull from your stash to make a scrappy quilt) and cut to size.  I wanted to make a quilt of valor from this mystery, but realized I don't have many charm packs that will work well for this type of quilt.   My next thought was to just go shopping and pick up some charm packs, but I really wanted to try to use up my stash, so I scrapped that idea.  Although, if I like how this one turns out, I am going to buy 2 more of the patriotic charm packs that were in my stocking this Christmas.  ;) 

What I landed on was from the first charm pack I ever bought.  Missouri Star Quilt company had this on sale a couple of times for around $4.  The first time I got 2, then they went down to (I think)  $2 a pack, so I got the maximum which I think was 4 at the time.  Later on it was included for free with purchase and I got more.  I ended up with 6-8 of these packs and made a hexagon quilt with them, even after making a hexagon quilt with a couple of the charm packs.

I also had a random charm pack of Bella Solids that coordinated perfectly as a background with some of the lightest blocks in this "Lovely" pack.  This must have been a free gift with purchase or a daily deal because I gravitate toward bright whites and it is an oatmeal/cream color.  That, or it looked white on the screen and was oatmeal when I opened the package.

One thing I have discovered since that first charm pack is that not all pre-cuts are created equal.  It is important to measure them for a pattern.  The Moda Bella Solids was a perfect 5".  The Lovely pack was crookidy and barely 5" on one side while being 5-5.25" on the other.  Every one of them had to be cut to the sizes in the pattern.  It will be worth it in the end, but it didn't make the process as easy as it would have been if it was a true 5".  Now I remembered why I never used up that "lovely" fabric by simply sewing the blocks together. 

*Hint- a spinning mat makes it MUCH easier to trim down the charm packs to the required sizes! 

Remember how I said I don't usually buy cream and ivory anymore?  I had planned on buying a couple more of those Moda packs to complete this, but I decided to look through my stash to see if I had anything that would work.  Wouldn't you know it, I had plenty to pull from?!  I ended up cutting out everything I needed with more left over.  I even found a pretty cream with tiny lavendar leaves/flowers that I had 3 yards of.  Plenty to use as a small border as well as in the main part of the quilt.  Now this quilt truly will be a stash buster.  There is something so gratifying in being able to pull fabric from what I already own.  I'm also super excited that it's not just one solid color for the background but a couple of solids and just as many tone on tone patterns in those colors.  I like that look in finished quilts, but have struggled to achieve it without having a personal "stash" built up.

To organize myself I stacked the cut squares into groups of ten, so I could easily count how many I had, then I placed them in ziploc bags labeled (with a sharpie) with the size of the cut.  Then I put all of these into a bag with clue 1. 

Unfortunately I'm terrible at reading instructions, as I said, and I kept looking for weekly??? updates with clues.  First I checked my spam folder to see if it went there, then I went to the blog to see if I missed one of her posts.  I skimmed the first clue post and then I finally went to her blog and carefully re-read her post.  (bangs head against wall that she missed the clearly stated time table 2 times!) 
Turns out clues are released the 3rd Friday of each month and won't end until late summer.  Wah!!!! I am ready to go and excited to find out what this quilt will turn into to.  By summertime I will want to be outside instead of sewing.  Oh well, I only have to wait a couple more weeks for clue 2.  In a couple of months life will get busy again and I will be glad the clues are spread far apart.  :)  Especially with 3 other QAL I am doing.  (squirrel!)

Carole has a download on her blog with these instructions.  I have a sticky note on it with sizes for Quilts of Valor.  Even though I decided not to do that for this first mystery quilt, I might just do a second one along with this one since I am ahead of the game right now.  ;)  Plus, that gives me an excuse to buy more charm packs.  (Like I need an excuse to buy fabric. wink-wink)

Thank you Carole, for this fun and (so far) easy mystery QAL.  After starting my first mystery QAL last month with another blogger I thought I might never attempt another one.  Yours has me excited to see what comes next.  <3  I also want to thank you for encouraging me to join you.  It is a big reason I kept thinking about it.   p.s.  I start singing "The Twist" every time I work on this project.  :) 


Rose Gold Foil Watercolor Sympathy Card

Yesterday I shared the Sympathy card I made for Meghan Evan's family.  Today I am sharing another card I made for her family.  I made both and then chose one to give them and put the other in my stash.  As I said, I have difficulty making these cards, but it is good to have some on hand.  I also like to send out cards about a month after the loved one has passed and on the one year anniversary.  I usually make these extra cards around the time I make the first.

The background was loosely watercolored in shade of purple and blue and allowed to dry. I attempted to do gold foil by stamping in versamark and using a heat-n-stick style embossing powder.  After heat setting it I rubbed the gold foil on.  It didn't work quite the way I pictured it, so I ran it through my gemini.  Note, if you attempt this, use a clean/smooth cutting plate or the scratches will impress into the foil. (unless that's the look you're going for)  I layered this piece on a navy cardstock that I had stamped in versmark with the same stamp I used for the card panel.  It adds a little bit of pattern without being too distracting.

*Note- The stamp set I used is called Beautiful World from Gina K Designs & Catherine Pooler.  I could not find a current link to this set, but it is still one of my favorites because every card I have made using it is so beautiful and touching.