Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Favorites

Just wanted to share a couple of new favorites that Santa delivered and they are both by Debbys!

I received Debby Kratovil's Block-a-Day Calendar and Companion CD!  It is a perpetual calendar, so it will work any year.  That's good because I don't think I'll be doing a block every day this coming year (although that would be a fun year-long project at some point).  In the mean-time, if I'm looking for something to do, I can always flip to the current day and make the block-of-the-day for years to come.  FUN!

Debby Kratovil's Block-A-Day perpetual Calendar & CD

I also have all four of Debby Brown's new Sit-Down Longarm Quilting DVDs.   The story for these goes like this... Before Christmas, I had told my husband that HQ Quilter's Academy is holding an Education Event for four days in May.  Wouldn't it be fantastic if I could go?  There are hands-on classes using the Sweet 16.  The event itself is pricey, and since it is being held in Utah, and we live in Virginia, the cost for the event, plus airfare and hotel is prohibitive for my quilting hobby.  Instead, my husband was happy to provide me hours of Quilter's Academy DVD video instruction from Debby Brown.

I'm so excited as she uses the HQ Sweet 16 for these videos.  I'm sure I'll be watching her DVDs many times as I use my own Sweetie.

Oh, I have one more!  My birthday is also in December, just a couple days after Christmas.  So I really have more than just a couple of new favorites.  I can't forget Electric Quilt.

You can never have too many patterns, right?  How about 4000 block patterns???  Blockbase is the CD-ROM version of Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns.

I had actually bought this software earlier in the year when it was on sale.  When the package arrived, I didn't open it, but gave it to my husband and told him to save it for my birthday, which he did.  I got just what I wanted for my bday!  :-)

Enjoy your last day of 2013!

Happy Stitching!

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Monday, December 30, 2013

How To: Use Fring Cut Ruler to make No-Sew Blankets

I made several fleece no-sew blankets to give this Christmas.

I love using the June Taylor Fringe Cut Ruler. It is a plastic template ruler with slots for your rotary cutter.  It makes it so easy!
Buy this on sale or use a coupon at Jo-Ann.

Here is a quick tutorial of how I use it.

First, lay the two pieces of fleece on top of each other, wrong sides together.  Both of my fabric pieces  were purchased off the bolts at the JoAnn store.  Use a ruler to square up the fabrics.
Trimming the fabric.

Lay the ruler on your fabric.  I line the "O" mark of the ruler where my fringe will start.
Ruler in place with '0' line to start fringe.

Decide how wide you would like your fringe to be.  I chose 1" fringe.
Simply insert your rotary cutter in the appropriate slots at the 0" mark, and cut the fabric down the slot to the end, without moving the ruler.
I cut using the 1" space markings.

I have two rotary cutters, my blue one, where the blade is exposed only when you press down, and my pink one, where the blade is exposed with a slide-switch.   I have found that the pink one, with the slide switch to expose the blade, works best with this ruler.  The exposed blade fits nicely in the slots. Just be careful to close the blade when you lay your cutter back down.

Slide the ruler down the fabric, lining up the last cut with the first open slot in the ruler.  Continue cutting around the fabric.  When you get to the end, a corner will be cut out.  This is what you want.  
Cut out the corners.
Corner cut out and removed.
Continue sliding the ruler and cutting the fringe all the way around your fabric.

When you are done cutting, beginning knotting the fabric.  Tie the top and bottom fringe pieces together in a double knot. 
DD helping me knot the fabric.
Continue double-knotting all the way around.
Excuse my late-night PJ attire.   :-)


I think these throw blankets are so cozy and warm.  Perfect for winter nights.

Happy Stitching!

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Sunday, December 29, 2013

A Little Holiday Crafting

I hope you enjoyed your holidays! Now that Christmas is past and there is time to catch up online, I can show some of my recent crafting done this month.

I quilted this quilt for my friend, Kathleen.  

I made several of these winter no-sew blankets for family gifts.

Embroidered a couple of stockings for a neighbor.

Monogrammed the pocket of a gift for my DD's piano teacher.
Used Brother BES software.

Monogrammed a couple of towels for a friend.
Used Monogram Wizard Plus software.

Embroidered a tote bag for DD's friend.
Happy Stitching!!

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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas from our home to yours.

Did you finish your holiday crafting?

Happy Stitching!!

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Monday, December 16, 2013

How To: Make a Pillow from a sentimental T-Shirt

A friend of mine asked if I could make a pillow for her 12-year-old daughter who is heart broken over the recent loss of her grandfather.  They were very close and she has a shirt that she cherishes from him.  It has USMC on it.  He was a Marine.  It no longer fits her, and it would be great to turn it into a small pillow for her bed.  Of course, I said I'd be happy to do it!  

Finished T-shirt Pillow

I had not tried this type of pillow before, so I did a little online searching to see how others have done it.  I found this page to be very helpful.  I tested their instructions with an old T-shirt of mine, and then this is my version of how I made this one:

This is a well-worn, youth size 10-12 t-shirt.  I had a small 12"x12" square pillow in my stash, and thought it would work well for this project.

I laid my 12.5" square ruler over the tee shirt and centered it over the design.  This design does not have much space underneath the collar, so I aligned the ruler right beneath the collar to use the limited space it has.  The logo design would be a little above center on the pillow, but it would still work OK.

Use a water or air-soluble marker to mark your cutting lines around the ruler.   I placed a small cutting mat inside the shirt to only cut the top layer with a rotary cutter.

I wanted to make this a lapped edge, slip-case pillow.  Since the bottom edges of the t-shirt were already finished, I wanted to use them.  I cut two separate pieces for the back of the pillow.  The first piece was just the remaining material from the front of the t-shirt to the bottom edge.  For the second piece, I measured up about 11".  You normally need each piece to be about 2/3 the size of the square, to allow for an overlap, but since this small shirt didn't have much material for my first piece, I wanted as much as a I could for the second piece.
The two pieces for the back of the pillow.

Then, something unique about this t-shirt caught my eye.  On the sleeve is a US Marine bulldog mascot.  I wanted to use this image somehow, and noticed the sleeve was about the same size of the first piece of fabric I had cut for the back of the pillow.
US Marine bulldog mascot

So I got out the seam ripper and took off one of the short sleeves.
The two pieces for the back, plus one sleeve with the mascot.

I trimmed the sleeve to be the largest rectangle I could make from it.  I decided to use this piece instead of the first piece I cut for the back.

Lay the two pillow-back pieces on the table, right-side up with the finished overlap edges on the inside, and the raw cut edges facing the outside of the square.
Lay the pillow front layer on top, logo-side down so that the materials are right-sides together.
Pin the layers together.

Sew all around the edges.  I used about a .5" seam.

Trim the corners and turn the pillow case out.
View of front.

View of back with bulldog mascot.

Slip the pillow form inside and you are done!


My friend said it is just perfect and it would make her daughter cry.  She can't wait to get it.  I am so happy this quick and easy project turned out so well!

Happy Stitching!

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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Turn Off Iron Reminder Card

I always second guess myself and wonder if I've turned off my iron.  I haven't left it on all night yet, but I have come back in my sewing room after being out for several hours, and noticed that it was still on.  That happened again recently, so I made myself a reminder card.

I just printed it on a card stock paper and laminated it for extra durability. I  have it taped above the light switch in my sewing room.

I see it every time I leave the room and shut off the light.  It does a good job or reminding me to think if I've turned it off.  Perfect.

If you want to print your own reminder card, you can download it here.

Happy Stitching!!

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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sunday Afternoon Doing Embroidery

It was blustery cold outside today.  Great time to spend inside sewing, right?  This is what my embroidery machine looked like this afternoon.  The pile of jackets on the left is done, and the stack on the right was my "still to be done" pile. These fleece jackets had a pocket on the left side, so I embroidered the logo on right side instead.  

Done and To Be Done piles.

It was a little odd to mark the fabric as my Embroider's Buddy placement tool is marked for embroidery on the left side.  I just flipped it over and copied the markings to the back.    I was able to get all the jackets finished.  Yea!
Sample of a completed jacket.

My next little project is to make a name tag block for my quilt guild.  It is a 4" square set on point.  I did it up in Electric Quilt 7 to audition some of my fabric with the design.  I will do post of it  when it is done.

Hope you had some time to stitch this weekend as well.

Happy Stitching!

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

How To: Watermark (already uploaded) Blogger Photos

I know it is a good idea to watermark the photos I post online.  My problem is that I don't use Photoshop routinely with my photos.   At this point, I have hundreds of photos online, and wouldn't want to go back and find and edit each photo on my laptop, and then upload again to each individual post in Blogger.   Way too much work.  So, how do you watermark your photos that are already online in Blogger?

I have searched and tried a few editors, and have found a free straight-forward solution that works!!  I am able to watermark the online photos without touching the originals that I have stored somewhere on my personal computer.  I prefer to keep my personal photos without the watermark anyway.  Since I'm editing the online photos, I don't need to re-upload any image to any specific blog post either.  That's nice!

So, here is how I do it:

FIRST, DID YOU KNOW?  All images that you upload to your Blogger blog are automatically stored in an online Google Picasa Web Album.  You can view your online photos and albums by visiting http://picasaweb.google.com.  The album name is the same as your blog name.  You can do some photo editing online using Picasa Web, but you cannot add text to a photo for a watermark.

The website that I now use to edit my Blogger photos is Ribbet.
Disclaimer:  I'm not affiliated with this website in any way, I'm just a new user of it.  ☺

You can create an account on Ribbet for free, but do not need to create an account to edit your Picasa albums.  The advantage of creating an account is that Ribbet then remembers your history and connections.

If you clicked on the Ribbet link above, you will be at the following Ribbet Welcome screen.  Select the Library tab at the top, or click on the Picasa symbol that is further down the display.  (If you go directly to Ribbet.com, click the button to "Edit a Photo", then select Picasa, Google+ from the menu bar.)

The first time you do this, you will see a message to connect Ribbet to your Picasa photos.  You want to do this, so select Connect.

You will see a dialog box to ask permission to connect.  Go ahead and grant permission.

Once you have connected, you may select your blogger album in the drop-down list on the right.  Now you have access to all your photos on your blog!  Simply double-click an image thumbnail to edit the photo.

Here is an example using a photo of our puppy that I double-clicked to edit.

  • Select the "Aa Text" option on the top Ribbet menu bar.  You will see a list of fonts to choose.  Notice that the ones shown in blue are "premium" fonts and cost money to use.  I stick with the free fonts, shown in black.  There is also a button on the bottom to "Load My Fonts".  I click this button to see my own fonts.

  • Click on your selected font, type in your text, and select "Add".  Use your mouse to move the text to where you want it to be.  You can also use the Text Properties box to make adjustments to the text.  Select the "Save" tab at the top menu when you are ready. 

  • I uncheck the Tag with 'Ribbet' option (just because I don't know what that option does).
    Make sure you choose the option to "Replace the old file".  Then click Save Photo.

  • Confirm to replace.

DONE! Your blog photo is saved and now will show with a watermark.  You can close the photo, or click the Library tab at the top to move on to another photo.

You can check your original blog post that has the edited photo to verify the change.  My puppy photo post is here.

I'm working my way through my photos now.   I get a rhythm going, and have my text string copied to my clipboard so I can just paste it in.  Ribbet remembers the last edits, so the next image I select to edit automatically pops up with the "Aa Text" and font selected.  I just paste my text, move it into place and save.  You'll notice my pics are starting to show with their watermarks.

Hope you found this helpful!

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